Books and E-Books
Still have a purpose to serve
Books cover virtually any topic, fact or fiction. For research purposes, you will probably be looking for books that synthesize all the information on one topic to support a particular argument or thesis. Libraries organize and store their book collections on shelves called "stacks."
College libraries purchase many of their books from academic publishers. Many students, however, erroneously believe that books count as peer-reviewed sources. Not true. Peer-reviewing is a concept generally associated with scholarly journals.
Electronic books, called e-books, may also be available online from your library.
Google Books is a massive, free collection of digital books. You're often able to view "snippets" or short passages from books online. Most of the books are not full-text.
Use a Book
- when looking for lots of information on a topic
- to put your topic in context with other important issues
- to find historical information
- to find summaries of research to support an argument
Best Tools for Finding Books
- For books in your library, use the book catalog on your library's web site
- For a database of thousands of libraries use WorldCat
- For short passages of full-text (possibly) use Google Books
Tip from Iris
- If you find the *perfect* book using Google Books, WorldCat or other online tool you don't have to buy it. Your library can borrow just about any book you find using these tools (and it's usually free). But plan ahead: it may take several days to borrow a book from another library.