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Elements of Library Research: Getting Started

Learn the basics of researching at the library.

Searching the Online Catalog

Ways to Search:

  • Basic
  • Advanced
  • Subject
  • Author
  • Course Reserves
  • Journals List
  • New Acquisitions

Search Within:

  • All
  • Title
  • Subject
  • Journal Title
  • Author
  • Call #

Narrow your search by Material Type:

  • Books (not EBooks)
  • Current 10 years
  • EBooks
  • Journals, magazines, newspapers
  • Reference
  • Video/DVD
  • WPI Project Reports
  • WPI Theses/Dissertations

What the Library Has to Offer

  • Web-based full text eJournals
  • Web-based full text eBooks
  • Web-based electronic databases
  • Electronic & Print Theses & Dissertations
  • Electronic & Print MQP & IQP Project Reports
  • Hard copy journals (print, microform, CD)
  • Books, serial backfiles, and other paper collections (includes microfilm)
  • Tech Suites
  • ILLiad InterLibrary Loan
  • Research Instruction and Assistance
  • Online Tutorials
  • and more!

Finding Your Way Around the Library

GENERAL COLLECTION: locations by call number.

  • A - N: Third Floor
  • P - Z: First Floor

REFERENCE BOOKS: 2nd floor, near the Reference desk.

RESERVE ITEMS: At the Information Desk.

FILM & MEDIA: 2nd floor, near the Reference desk.

BEST SELLERS: 2nd floor, near the Reference desk.


PERIODICALS, TECH REPORTS, MICROFILM/MICROFICHE: Ground floor. Back issues arranged A-Z by title.

Library of Congress (LC) Classification System

The Gordon Library categorizes/organizes books using the LC (Library of Congress) Classification System. Letters and numbers denote subject and location in the collection. 

 Call number 'LB 2395 .C65 1991' on the spine of a book and in the online catalog

The first two lines describe the subject of the book.

The third line represents the author's last name.

The last line represents the date of publication.