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There are various systems for searching and finding resources. There are over 100 libraries in Cambridge, and it might be best to use a catalogue that allows you to search for books across all the Cambridge Libraries, unless you are specifically interested only in the holdings of one library.

  • The easiest catalogue to use is ‘LibrarySearch' at http://search.lib.cam.ac.uk/ You might like to bookmark this useful tool on your computer. LibrarySearch is an easy way to find books and journal materials held anywhere in Cambridge's many libraries and also in selected online sources. Simply type in a title, author name or keyword, and use the 'refine' categories on the right-hand side to find what you're looking for.
  • You might also come across 'Newton' at http://www.lib.cam.ac.uk/newton/ This is our older catalogue, which groups the University's libraries into eight clusters alphabetically. Newton is a more traditional library catalogue and you may find it less intuitive at first, but it offers more structured searching which can be great for finding new research material.

Using ‘LibrarySearch'

If you are searching for a known title:

  • You might type or copy and paste the title into the search box.
  • You might enter one or more keywords into the search box. You might include the author's name, a word from the title of a text, or choose several words. Your first set of results will be more relevant if you choose keywords or search terms that are not too common.

If you are searching for texts on a topic, but not for a particular one which is already known to you:

  • You will need to think carefully about your key words. Choose ones which are not too general, so that you do not find texts which relate to completely different subjects and topics, outside your discipline. Try synonyms and other related words.
  • You could also use the wordcloud function or some of the suggestions in the 'Refine' menu in LibrarySearch, to broaden your search or suggest new key words.

Having done a search there are many ways that you might want to refine and improve your set of results: 

Activity

Go to LibrarySearch and do the following two searches: 

  1. Chaucer's dream
  2. Chaucers dreams 

Consider which might be the better search and why. Think about the sort of information that you might need at different times.