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Search tips and resources for research in history.

Where to Look for Books

In addition to QuickSearch, there are several other tools for finding books at Loyola, at our neighbor Tulane, and at libraries throughout the country.



In addition to the books available at Monroe Library, Loyola students can check out print books from Howard-Tilton Memorial Library at Tulane University. Howard-Tilton is a fabulous research library and will have a wide range of books on highly specialized topics.

In order to check out books from Howard-Tilton, first ask for a TULU card at the Monroe Library desk. This will serve as your library card when you visit Tulane.

The World!

Finally, you can search for books held at libraries throughout the United States and some international libraries using WorldCat. This is a great option when your research needs include books that we don't have at either Loyola or Tulane, especially older books that are out of print, or books on highly specialized topics.

Note: We may not be able to borrow from libraries outside of the United States, but can usually get books, DVDs, and microfilm--and PDF copies of single articles or book chapters--from libraries within the U. S.

To request materials owned by other libraries (when Monroe Library does not have access), use our interlibrary loan service. We will borrow the book on your behalf and let you know when it's ready to pick up at the Monroe Library desk.

How to Read Academic Books

Books are still an important publication format in the humanities. In fact, journal articles may be the precursor to full-length books. Here are some tips on how to use books more effectively in your research:

  • Read the table of contents. See how the book is organized and what the main theme of each chapter will be.
  • Read the introduction and conclusion first. Academic works are not novels - you'll get more out of it if you know in advance the author's main points and conclusions.
  • Read the introductory and concluding paragraphs of each chapter. Do these give you a summary of the chapter's argument and main ideas?
  • Look for key terms that the author defines, and important names of people and places. Keep a list of these terms and names with definitions or important facts to keep yourself organized while you read.
  • Raid the bibliography of a good book for more sources, both primary and secondary. Ask a librarian if you need help locating a cited source.