How do I find that book?

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How Do I Search the Catalogue?Want to know how to find a book in the Library? Or ever wondered what the number you are always looking for means? Then this is the blog post for you. Find out how to use the Catalogue and locate items in the Library.

How to search for an item

When looking for a resource in the Library always start with the Catalogue. This can be accessed through the Library webpages, University of Winchester App, Talis Aspire reading lists and dedicated computers in the Library.

You can search by author, title, or key subject words. The Catalogue will give you information about how many copies the Library holds, if they are on loan, and loan types including eBooks. Oversized books (OS) and School Resources are shelved separately from the main collection. The catalogue will also tell you the Dewey Shelfmark. See below for an example.


For further information on searching the Catalogue please watch the video below:

 How Do I Search the Catalogue?

What is the Dewey Decimal classification system?

This is the numbering system used to shelve our books. The numbers that are put on the spine labels are called shelfmarks. These shelfmarks fall into 10 basic shelving areas of the Library. The first three numbers of a shelf mark indicate the general subject area.

Dewey Decimal Table

For example the book Elizabethan England by W. Harrison has the shelfmark:

942.055 HAR

900 = History
940 = History of Europe
942 = History of England and Wales

This number is further refined after the decimal point. Every number has a meaning and is important! After the decimal point the number reads from left to right and digit by digit.

942                        = History of England and Wales
942.05                   = Tudors
942.055                 = Elizabethan period

Don’t forget, 0 counts as a digit and will be shelved before 1!

942.055 = the Elizabethan Period
942.55   = History of Northamptonshire

That little 0 makes a big difference in classification!

The three letters at the end of a shelfmark are either the first three letters of the author’s (or, in the case of some edited volumes, editor’s) surname or the title of the item if there isn’t a specific author. In this case the author is Harrison so HAR is used.

Items are shelved alphabetically within each number section.


How to Read the Library Shelves


On a single shelf items are shelved left to right



The sequence then continues on the next shelf down



When the sequence reaches the last shelf in that bay, it then resumes at the top of the next bay



We also have a video guide available to help you locate your books:

                                                         How Do I Find My Books?


Who can I ask for help?
If you have any problems finding your way with the Library Catalogue or have difficulties locating the item on the shelf please do ask at the Library help desk where staff are more than happy to help. You can also get in contact with your Subject Librarian who can offer advise on accessing materials specific to your course.

Where would I find oversized books?
These will be marked as Oversized books (OS) on the catalogue and can be found with a bright yellow sticker in their own separate sections on each floor, please refer to the map or ask at the help desk.

How do I access eBooks?
ooks can be found on the Library Catalogue the same way as looking for a physical copy. On the search results it will state that it’s an ebook underneath the title, there will also be a link on the item’s record that will link you directly to the eResource. If you are accessing this from outside the campus make sure you have logged in through the Intranet. eBooks can also be found by using Full Text Finder – read our recent blog post to find out more.

What is the book is on loan?
If the book you are looking for is currently out on loan then you can place a Reservation by clicking Reserve this item. You will then receive an email notification when the item has come in and it will be available to collect under your name from the reservation stands on the top floor.

What if I can’t find the book on the catalogue?
Remember to also check Full Text Finder to see if the Library has access to an eBook. If there is no access available then you are able to request an Inter Library Loan where we will try and get a copy from another library. To do this simply search the title you are looking for on the Library Catalogue and at the bottom of the screen there is a yellow box that states ‘request an Inter Library Loan’ – simply fill in the form and submit the request. ILLs are free for students but there is a £2.50 for staff members.


We hope that this can be of some use to you when trying to find books in the Library and please don’t forget to come and ask at the counter for any more help.