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Tarleton State University Libraries Unit 3
BOOKS: PURPOSE & USES
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  Books cover virtually any topic (fact and fiction). For research purposes, books are often useful due to the breadth of material they can offer. Even though you may not always find an entire book about your chosen topic, you can often find useful information in a book about a related or broader topic. Also, using a book's table of contents and/or index helps you quickly determine if the book offers desired material.

Tarleton libraries organize (shelve) books in collections (locations in the libraries) based on each book's primary function or focus. Also, each book is given a distinctive call number reflecting its subject(s). Books are shelved based on their call numbers, which then act as "shelf addresses" for the books. To help patrons find books (and other items), the online catalog contains records for all items in the collections. A book's catalog record states the book's call number and the collection in which it is shelved, along with more information about authorship, subject, etc.

Also, electronic books (e-books) in the libraries' holdings are available through links in the online catalog. Unit 5 offers more information about the online catalog, catalog records, and call numbers.

The following list shows some primary reasons to use books as research sources:
•  to find comprehensive information on a topic,
•  to obtain background information about a topic,
•  to find historical information,
•  to put a topic in context with other important issues, and
•  to locate summaries of research related to your topic.
 
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Updated 7/2004