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Literature: Finding Books

Basic search tips and strategies for literature students

Search Dugan Library

Look for books and videos in Dugan Library!

Searching for Books in Dugan Library

LC Call Numbers

Sample Subject Headings

It is important to remember that in Library of Congress classification, works by an author are shelved side-by-side with criticism and biographies about the author.  This makes it convenient to fully explore an author.  For instance, you would find everything related to Jane Austen at PR 4030-4038 or Nathaniel Hawthorne at PS 1850-1898.

  • Austen, Jane (for work by or about enter author names this way)
  • Criticism
  • Historical fiction
  • Fiction
  • Literary form
  • Literature and society
  • Literature, Collections
  • Women authors
  • Poetry
  • History and criticism
  • Literature and criticism

Search Tips

  • Use a ‘browse’ search to a specific title or author
  • Keyword searches are a great way to start
  • It’s always a good idea to physically browse a subject area and look at the books
  • The majority of the library books are in the general collection, but we have many special collections (Cardinal Newman Collection, Reference, Juvenile, Thesis, Videos and more)
  • Special collections are shelved separately from the general collection
  • If you can’t find a book on the shelf, be sure to ask a library worker for help!

WorldCat Discovery

Search WorldCat to discover books not owned by our library.  You can submit a request to borrow items from other libraries.  This is a free service for NU students.

The video above reviews how to request a book from another library.

Where to Browse

P is the call number range for language & literature

  • PJ--Oriental Literature
  • PK--Indo-Iranian Literature
  • PN--Literature, General (study of; collections)
  • PQ--French, Italian, Spanish & Portuguese Literature
  • PR--English Literature
  • PS--American Literature
  • PZ--Juvenile Literature

These books are located on the 2nd floor of the library!

LC Subject Classification

Library of Congress Subject Classification

A General Works
B Philosophy, Psychology, Religion
C Archeology, Genealogy
D History: General, World
E-F History: Western Hemisphere
G Geography, Anthropology
H Social Sciences
J Political Science
K Law
L Education
M Music
N Fine Arts
P Language & Literature
Q Science
R Medicine
S Agriculture
T Technology
U Military Science
V Naval Science
Z Library Science


Once you find a book you're interested in, be sure to examine the books nearby.  You might find something valuable that didn't turn up in your catalog search!