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Universiteitsbibliotheek – LibGuides

Training finding and handling scholarly information for GEO4-3633: 4B: e-books and books

Research master human geography


Have a look at the information on the right.

  1. Search for books in the library catalogue (with default 'all fields') just using one or two of your main search terms (in English). Make sure not to use too specific terms and make sure to truncate your terms (Truncation = searching with the stem of a word with an * directly attached to it to find all variants of that word in one go. E.g. develop* for development, developing etc.. This does not work in Google.) Write down or import at least two book titles/authors. Probably most of the books you will find will be e-books.
  2. Perform a search in Google Books. You can use very specific terms and it is wise to use 4-6 terms to get the more relevant titles appear at the top. When you have found relevant books copy/paste the title into the library catalogue to check availability.
  3. Check using Narcis whether there are recent doctoral dissertations from Dutch universities available on your subject. These dissertations are often a rich source of literature references.

By the way, did you know that the library bought access to your handbook The companion to development studies?

Catalogue UBU

catalogue UBUAll books and (>80,000) e-books in the library collections can be found with the library catalogue. Many of those books are also listed elsewhere (Google Books,  Amazon etc.) but only the library catalogue has the links or number needed to get the book for lending, downloading, printing or online reading. The international catalogue Worldcat does have information on almost all books in the university library, and the UBUlink takes you from that system to the place where you have access. But to be really be sure plaese and check the library catalogue even if you have used these other search engines to discover that relevant books for your topic.

Most print books have very short description in the catalogue, often just the author, title and a few keywords. It's different for e-books: in most cases they are searchbale with their table of contents as well, meaning that you will also find books based on chapters titles within those books. In development studies over 70% of modern books in our catalogue is an e-book. Currently Google Books is the best search engine to discover relevant books, but the library catalogue is the best tool to check whether you have access to a certain title.

In the library catalogue, to discover books search 'all fields', to check availability of a specific title it is better to change the setting to search just book titles. Of course you can also perform an author search.

For the best result make sure to truncate almost all your terms: just enter the stem of the word with an asterisk attached to it. E.g. search for develop* to find development, developed, developing etc. in one go. If you fail to do this, you will miss a lot of relevant books!

Is the book you need not listed in the library catalogue? Make a purchase suggestion! If the library can buy the book in e-book format it often takes less than a day to have it available for you.

Google Books

Google BooksGoogle Books is a search engine in which you will find (data on) more than 20 million books. Books are included in Google Books via the scan programme that Google executes at >20 large libraries and via publishers taking care of their own uploads. That is why Google Books often contains the searchable full text of books. However, though you can search the full text you cannot always read the full text in Google Books. It depends on copyright issues and publishers' permissions. Mainly the older books which are copyright-free are full text available in Google Books.

Though it is difficult to find there is also an advanced search form for Google Books that you can use to do a more targeted search.

In addition to the catalogue, use Google Books for:

  • trying to find the title/author of books in which your subject is only a small part of the content (chapter, paragraph), because in the catalogue that only works in the case of e-books;
  • (if you are lucky) reading the full text of (parts of) books which the library does not hold (but you can also make a purchase suggestion with sometimes very quick results;
  • Finding more books on the same subject via the extra data that Google Books adds to a title (citations, related titles).

If you have found relevant titles in Google Books, you can look for the title in the catalogue of Utrecht University Library to get access to the book. Unfortunately, Google Books does not show the UBU link as Google Scholar does.

The LibGuide Search Strategy>Where to look for books> tab:Google Books UBU LibGuide Google Books offers more information about working with Google Books.

Dissertations from Dutch universities: Narcis!

NARCISIn Narcis all online dissertations from Dutch universities are listed with searchable abstracts. Dissertations are a very rich source of quality references on many subjects.