A book is a book, right? Actually, there is a variety of publications that fall into the category of "book." Here are some you're likely to come across in the course of your research:
Monograph. A book by one author on one subject.
Monographic series. A publisher will sometimes issue a number of monographs on a common theme or subject, as a series. You can find the series title on the page opposite the title page, or other front matter, or on the book's cover. You'll also find (in the front or back) a list of all the books published so far in the series.
Edited volume, or Collected essays. A book containing essays, or chapters, by various authors on one subject. The essays are compiled by an editor or editors.
Festschrift. (Plural: Festschriften.) A German word meaning literally "festival of writing." A collection of essays by various authors on one subject, published to honor a prominent scholar (often upon his/her retirement, or 60th birthday). The title page often reads: "Essays in honor of ..."
Conference proceedings. The published record of a conference, including the full texts of the papers read at the conference.
Exhibition catalog. The published record of an art exhibition, including reproductions of, and articles on, the artworks displayed. Often, the articles contain new research by major scholars in the field.
Dissertation. The paper a doctoral student writes for his/her Ph.D. degree. The student is required to do exhaustive research (that is, identify everything that has ever been written) on a narrowly focused topic. As a result, the dissertation may be the only book-length treatment that has been done on that topic, and you may find information there that you won't see anywhere else. This goes for the bibliography, too. Some dissertations are later published -- you'll find these in library catalogs and bibliographic databases. You can find unpublished dissertations in certain databases that specialize in these.
Below are subject terms used in academic library catalogs, that are related to the humanities. You can add them to your other search terms when searching by subject.
For Primary Sources:
For Secondary Sources:
History and criticism
[Work] - Adaptations
For People: literary authors, artists, etc.:
Criticism and interpretation
Knowledge - [subject]
Contributions in [subject]
Views on [subject]
For Interdisciplinary aspects:
[Subject or person] - Fiction
[Subject or person] - Drama
[Subject or person] - Songs and music
[Subject] in literature
[Subject] in art
USING THE CATALOG RECORD TO FIND MORE BOOKS
Once you've found an interesting book in the library catalog, and you're looking at the description of that book, check the following:
GENERAL SEARCHING CONCEPTS
Controlled vocabulary vs. keyword searching:
Interdisciplinary aspects -- subject terms you can add to your search:
People -- "author" vs. "subject" search:
Creative works -- forms and genres:
Creative works -- generic titles:
Library of Congress call numbers -- tips to remember:
USING OTHER LIBRARIES' CATALOGS
Find them using the following methods:
Types of catalog search interfaces you may see;
Federated searching. Gives you a "one-stop" search box, so you can search multiple types of resources (books, journals, databases) at one time. Good for getting an initial sense of the literature that has been written on your topic. Also useful for interdisciplinary approaches: you may find literature in databases you might not have thought were related to your topic. Drawback: convenient Google-like search box, but like Google, it gives you large result sets that can be hard to narrow down.
Faceted searching. Gives you a sidebar with additional search terms ("facets"), to help you narrow your search. Good for when you have only a broad idea for your topic, and want help narrowing it down.
Advanced or Boolean searching. Gives you multiple search boxes. With these, you can select Boolean operators ("AND", "OR", "NOT") to connect your search terms. You can also specify which fields (subject, author, title, etc.) you want to search a particular word in. Good for when you have a narrowed topic, know some specific terms related to it, and want a precision search tool.
Links to other libraries' catalogs:
Selected libraries in Great Britain, Ireland and Europe:
Major Religion and Divinity libraries:
Major music libraries:
Major sites for English and literature:
Searching library catalogs:
Other libraries' resources:
As a general rule, the longer the work, the larger its scope. So when searching books, you'll want to use a fairly broad strategy. You can add keywords to narrow your search as needed. Thus, to locate books about a literary figure, composer, artist, historical individual, philosopher, etc., you can simply search the name of the person as a subject. You can also pair the individual's name with a term describing a theme you are researching.