Elements of Library Research

Learn the basics of researching at the library.

WorldCat: Find items in libraries near you

Search for an item in libraries near you:
WorldCat.org >>

Need Help? Ask Us!

If the chat is not available, please feel free to email us at library@wpi.edu or you can make an appointment with a librarian at http://wpi.libcal.com/appointments/ 

Finding Print & Electronic Books

Use Books to…

  • Gather background information (ex. encyclopedias, dictionaries )
  • Gain historical perspective
  • Find in-depth information or a broad overview of a topic

Often, one or two book chapters will give you the information you need for a project. Bibliographies will lead you to more resources.

Finding Books Beyond WPI

WorldCat combines the holdings of 1000s of libraries, including most Worcester area libraries. You will find the link under the Quick Start area of the web site or via "Find in a Library" when viewing Google Books.

Search for library materials (books, videos, periodical titles) by keyword, author, subject heading, or title.

Too many results? Click Advanced Search and use drop down menus to add additional keywords or phrases to make your search more specific. Use Limit to restrict your search by year and/or language.

How To Obtain Items Found in WorldCat



If we own the item here in the Gordon Library, you will see: Worcester Polytechnic Institute

If a local academic library owns the item, you will see: ARC Libraries

  1. Click the Libraries Worldwide link to find out which libraries own the item. Is the number next to Libraries Worldwide less than 15? Then we may have trouble borrowing this item for you if only a few libraries in the world own it. 
  2. To request from another library (Free of charge) click on the ILLiad  and complete the online request form. It may take a week or two for the item to arrive. 

  3. Want to visit a local library? Stop by the Information Desk for Academic Research Collaborative (ARC) card which allows you to directly borrow items from area academic libraries and the Worcester Public Library.

Search also Google Books or online bookstores such as Amazon then use World Cat to order items that will be useful for your research.

ILLiad: Borrowing from other Libraries

Our Interlibrary Loan service allows WPI students and faculty to request items from other libraries free of charge.

For Reference: Background Information