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Anthropology 280 Library Research

Recognizing Scholarly Books

Scholarly Book Chapters

For your assignment, you can also use chapters from scholarly books. The WSU Libraries book collection is mostly scholarly, but we also have fiction and popular non-fiction in our collections. So, how do you recognize a scholarly book? Here are things to look for:

  • Scholarly books are written by researchers who are experts in their field. 
  • Like scholarly articles, scholarly books cite their sources, either in footnotes or works cited lists at the end of the book. Some scholarly books have works cited lists at the end of each chapter.
  • Scholarly books are often published by university presses. Examples include Oxford University Press, Rutgers University Press, University or Arizona Press, etc.
  • Scholarly books are written for other researchers and practitioners in a field of study. They will use language that a general audience may not immediately understand.

Search It

Search It is the library's online catalog, but it is also a discovery system that links you to resources beyond the WSU Library collections, including articles.

If you aren't familiar with Search It, the Search It tutorial can be very useful:

Here is the beginning of the results page after a search for the terms cannibalism skeletal:

Screenshot of search results for the terms Cannibalism Skeletal in Search It


This search brought up 2,462 results. This is a lot to sort through, especially since all of these sources aren't going to be immediately available to me. I can use the facets on the left side of the screen to limit my search in different ways:

  • Clicking on "Peer Reviewed" takes all of the results out of my search that didn't come from a journal that uses peer-review.
  • Clicking on "Available at WSU Libraries" takes all of the results out of my search that aren't available in the WSU Libraries' physical collection. Be careful if you use this as no article or eBooks will show up.
  • Clicking on "WSU Online Resources" limits my search to only items that are available to me through the library's online collections.

You can limit your search to the type of source you're looking for. If you click on "Show More" under "Type," you will see a list of options to choose from. From this list, you can limit your search to eBooks, articles, eVideo, print books, etc.

You can also limit your search by publication date which can be helpful if you are looking for either older primary sources or more current sources.

Requesting Books

Hopefully, you will find a great source or two that you'd like pick up or have sent to you. You may also find a fantastic source that isn't available from the WSU libraries, but you'd like to get from another library. You can request items directly from the WSU Libraries when we have them, or you can use Summit to request things we don't have. In both of these cases, the request process is similar.

(What is Summit? You can use Summit to request books from other libraries within our region. This includes academic libraries in WA, OR, and the University of Idaho.)

To request books, you need to be logged into Search It. Once you are logged in, here is what a request looks like:

  1. screenshot of book title in Search ItYou find a book in Search It that you'd like to use

  2. screenshot of Summit request buttonYou scroll down in the Search It record to the "Availability and Request Options" section to find the "Request Item" (if we have it) or "Request Summit Item" (to get it from another library) button

  3. screenshot of pickup options at WSU Libraries After You click the "Request" button, choose how you'd like to get the book. If you are taking classes through WSU Pullman, your options are "Pullman Locker Pickup" and "Pullman Home Delivery." 



screenshot of last request buttonAfter that, you make sure to submit your request by hitting return or clicking on the "Request" button. you should see  brief confirmation message after you do this. 

If Summit Doesn't Work...

If you get a message saying that your request for a book can't be filled by Summit, you can try submitting your request in Illiad, our other interlibrary loan service. This is also the service we use for articles, so you can see more of how to use it in the "Finding and Getting Scholarly Articles" section.

WSU Libraries, PO Box 645610, Washington State University, Pullman WA 99164-5610, 509-335-9671, Contact Us