Library catalogue

The library catalogue is a search engine used to find resources - books, ebooks and dissertations. This guide explains how to search for print materials from Birmingham, London and Manchester libraries, and also how to access ebooks available through the VLeBooks website.

Search terms

In a library catalogue you can search for:

  • author's surname

  • book title

  • module code (to see the module reading list)

  • keyword

See the Effective search page for advise on selecting good search terms.


Catalogues do not do full text search inside books. Therefore, library catalogues may not be able to identify useful books if you search only for the topics covered on a few pages.

Give a thought to what kind of textbooks may discuss your topic. (If unsure, use Google Books to help you.) 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 those textbooks in library catalogues and use the table of contents and index sections in textbooks to navigate to the relevant pages.

Understanding library catalogue records - printed books

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 how the catalogue record looks like when opened. (Click here to view this example in your browser.)

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 8 copies in total - 4 in Birmingham and 4 in London.

Observe the Shelf-mark - 658.4 ROB.

This shelf-mark tells you where in the library the book is placed. Ask an available librarian for help finding the shelf-mark that you need or click [here] for more information on how to use them.

Librarian Tip: many textbooks have multiple editions. Normally a librarian would recommend using the latest edition, as these are most up to date. You can find out if there are other editions of a book that you need either by searching for an author or checking Related field in the catalogue record.