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Research Guides

ISEM 101: Creative Minds and Jupiter, Venus and Mars: Books

This guide provides tips for finding biographical information for the essay assignment.

Short tutorial on searching for books

Search tips for finding biographies

To search for biographical books (either whole books on one person or a collection of biographies), add the term biography in the search box.  You can search a person's name or use subject terms that describe the area you are interested in.  

Examples book searches:

George Washington biography

women scientists biography

feminists biography

The person is considered the "subject" of the biography, and you can use subject searches to find books about a person rather than by a person. See the advanced search option for the library catalog to do subject searches.

In an autobiography, the person is both the subject and author.

Getting Your Book

To find library items

Take a look at our library floor maps

What is a Request?

Requesting a book is a simple way to get your library item(s), from on or off campus. To request materials that have been checked out by another patron, search for the item in our library catalog and click the Request button under the Find it tab. When a request is made, we notify the patron with the item and shorten the checkout time.  (This can be especially helpful since faculty members and graduate students have long checkout periods on books). To view your requests, visit your account page.     

How do I Request a Book?

  1. Locate your book by searching our library catalog.
  2. To view availability, click on Find it, and then Request (if the item is not available in our library). 
  3. Enter your user id and password.
  4. Verify that your request is complete and submit.
  5. You will be notified when your book has arrived.


What is Interlibrary Loan?

Interlibrary Loan (ILL) is service that allows for the worldwide sharing of library materials.  This service is available for faculty, staff, and currently enrolled students.    

How do I Request a Library Item Using Interlibrary Loan?

  1. Locate the book you would like to request using the library catalog.
  2. If the book is not available, or checked, click on Find it, and then Request.
  3. Enter your user name and password.
  4. Verify book request to make sure all necessary fields are complete, and submit.
  5. A record of the request should appear on your account page.

Search the Library Catalog

Tips for Searching the Library Catalog:

  • Choose the search scope by selecting either UI + Summit + Articles (all materials); UI + Summit (items owned by UI and member libraries); or UI Library Only (items owned only by the UI Library).   
  • Limiting your search: Start with a basic search and once you find a book that seems to be about your topic, you can use the format and/or other options located on the left to further narrow your search.
  • On the Advanced Search page, the year, language, and location (to name a few options) of items can be limited.
  • Subject headings can be a great way to narrow in on your topic.

Library of Congress Classification areas that might be useful

Books are located on the  2nd (T-Z), 3rd (H-S), and 4th (A-G) floors organized by the Library of Congress Classification system. Search for books using the library catalog.

 Most biographies will be included in the call number area for the subjects the person is notable in.  Below are some areas of general or collections of biographies.

Call Number Areas to Browse

Description Call # Floor
General Collective biography CT 93-206 4th
National biographies CT 210-3150 4th
Biographies of women CT 3200-3830 4th
Biographies of academics, scholars CT 3990 4th

Joe Vandal Finds A Book