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Book Research Skills

This guide will help you learn how to effectively use books for research.

Finding Books

Check out the library's catalog to find books and other physical materials in our library. An important point to remember when searching the catalog is to think broad.

For example, if your topic is Common Core Standards in the state of Iowa, you may want to search for "Common Core," "educational assessment," or for other broad terms.


In the image above, type your topic or keywords into one of the three search boxes. Make sure to choose the appropriate "search index." If you are searching for a specific title or author, you can choose those for your search index. Otherwise, choose "Keyword." 

Also shown above are the title, author, and subject fields. If you are looking for a specific resource and know this information, type the information here.

You should also note the following information if you find a resource you want:

  • Call number - where on the shelf the item is located
  • Status - this will tell you if the item is on the shelf and available for check out

Interlibrary Loan (ILL)

Interlibrary Loan (ILL) is a service that allows you to check out materials that are unavailable in our library from libraries around the US. It is available to all Morningside students (including distant education graduate students), faculty, and staff.  ILL can be used for both physical and digital materials.

To find a book or other physical resource outside our library, it is easiest to use our Discovery Search. Once you find a resource you want, click on the record. There will be a maroon button labeled "Request Item Through Interlibrary Loan." Click this button and fill in your contact information to make an ILL request.

You can also use the ILL Submission Form. Make sure to put as much information as possible. This makes it easier for us to find the correct item for you.

Physical resources may take 7 to 10 days or longer to receive once you put in a request. Please keep this in mind when beginning your research. You will receive an email when your item(s) are available to be picked up at the library.

Digital materials often only take a few days to receive. These resources will be emailed to you.

If you have any questions about ILL, please do not hesitate to ask a librarian.