Library catalogues

A library catalogue is a search engine to find resources: books, ebooks and dissertations. This guide explains how to search for print materials from Birmingham, London and Manchester libraries,  and for ebooks available through VLeBooks.

For university library catalogues, go to:

Search terms

In the QAHE library catalogue you can search for:

See the Effective search page for advice how select good search terms.


Library catalogues do not do full-text searches inside books. Therefore, they may not be able to identify useful books if you search for the topics covered on a few pages.

Give a thought to what kind of textbooks may discuss your topic. For example, employee motivation is likely to be part of textbooks on work psychology or organisational behaviour. The 4P framework is discussed in marketing textbooks, while CSS can be found in books on web design. Search for the title of those textbooks in library catalogues and use the table of contents and index sections in textbooks to navigate to the relevant pages.

If unsure what textbooks may be of use to you, ask your lecturer or librarian, see reading lists and use Google Books to do a full-text search inside books. 

Understanding library catalogue records

Each book title has its own catalogue record

Catalogue records for print books will tell you where the book is placed in the library, how many copies are available in each campus, and which keywords are associated with this book. 

Catalogue record can provide some information about the book as well: author, edition number, publisher, place of publication. 

To view a catalogue record click on the book title link.

This is what the catalogue record looks like when opened. (See this example in your browser.)

The top of the page gives you various bibliographic information, as well as keywords relevant to this book. 

At the bottom of the screen, you can see that there are six copies in total - three in Birmingham and three in London. 

Note the shelfmark - 658.4 ROB. This shelfmark tells you where in the library the book is placed. Books in the library are arranged in numerical (by subject) and alphabetical (according to the author's surname) order. 

Many textbooks have multiple editions. Normally a librarian would recommend the latest edition. You can find out if there are other editions of a book that you need either by searching for the author or checking the Related field in the catalogue record.