COLWRIT R1A: California Dreaming: Imagining California - Taylor

Finding Local History

Here are some terms you can use in OskiCat or Melvyl that may help you find books on your topic. magnifying glass imageRemember, these search engines only let you search brief information about the books - you're not searching in the full text of the books themselves! If you're not getting enough results, try leaving out some search terms, searching for a less specific topic (Southeast Asian Americans instead of Cambodian Americans) using Google Books, or asking a librarian.

All of these terms are Library of Congress subject headings -- which means you'll get the most complete results if you enter them exactly as typed (African Americans, not African American).

To retrieve information about... Enter terms as a subject search:
a county's history Alameda County (Calif.) History.
a city's history Richmond (Calif.) History
a person Muir, John
a company Kaiser Aluminum and Chemical Corporation

Another option is to do a keyword search that combines key terms relating to your topic:

sacramento and population
san quentin and history
japanese and discrimination and california
russian and emigration and california

Film and Video in OskiCat

You can use the Media Resource Center's website to browse for films on your research topic, or you can use OskiCat to find films and videos in the UC Berkeley Libraries. Enter your search terms in the "Keyword" box, like this:

social protest california

Use the "Entire Collection" pulldown menu to restrict your search to "Films/Videos/Slides." Your search results may include online video as well as items in the Media Resources Center collection, or elsewhere in the campus libraries.

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Searching Library Catalogs

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Use OskiCat to locate materials related to your topic, including books, government publications, and  audio and video recordings, in the libraries of UC Berkeley. OskiCat will show you the location and availability of the items that we own. More OskiCat help.

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Use Melvyl to locate materials related to your topic located at other campuses in the UC system, or worldwide. You can use the Request button to request an item from another library, if we don't own it. Detailed Melvyl help.

  • Using Melvyl (but not OskiCat) you can find articles as well as books, and easily format a citation for copying into a bibliography. Melvyl will also show you the location and availablity of items that we have on our campus.

In every catalog you use, not the name of the physical library, call number, and whether or not the item is checked out, library use only, etc.

Call numbers are usually located on the spine of the book; learn how to read them so you can easily find what you need on the shelves.

Using call numbers to find books

Books and journals are arranged on our shelves according to the Library of Congress (LC) classification system. Each is assigned a unique call number based on its subject matter and other characteristics. Items on the same subject will often be grouped together.

Each call number consists of several elements. For example, consider:

TK
7881.6
M29
1993

The FIRST line, TK, is based on the broad subject of the book. Within Class T for technology, TK represents electrical engineering.

The SECOND line, 7881.6, defines the subject matter more finely. When looking for the book, read this as a whole number with a decimal component. In this example, TK7881.6 represents magnetic recording (a subdivision of TK— electrical engineering).

The THIRD line, M29, usually indicates author, but may also represent a further subject subdivision, geographic area, etc. There may also be a fourth line, formatted the same way. When looking for the book, read the numeric component as if it were preceded by a decimal point. In the example above, the numeric part of M29 should be read as ".29" (and the call number TK7881.6 M29 comes before TK7881.6 M4).

The YEAR of publication, such as 1993, may also be present. These file in chronological order and often indicate successive editions of a book. The call number may also have additional elements, such as volume numbers.

In using a call number to locate a book on the shelf, consider each element in turn before moving on to the next segment.

These call numbers are arranged as they should appear on the shelves. In each case, the element shown in boldface distinguishes the number from the preceding one:

Q
76
K26
QA
17
F75
QA
17.1
C98
TK
3
Z37
TK
29
M49
TK
29
M5
1997
TK
29
M5
2007
Last Update: May 22, 2013 10:43