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Com 101 Library Information and Tutorials

Com 101 Library Activity Part 1

This is how you get to the first part of your graded library activity:

After you have gone over the information on this page about finding books in Search It, you can go to Com 101 Library Activity Part 1, by following the link below. 

Note: Once you start the activity, you want to complete it (this is just because the technology doesn't allow you to save your work and come back to it), so make sure you have time before beginning. If you need to exit and start again, you can, but you have to start from the beginning, which is kind of a pain. The activity should take about 15 minutes to complete, but can take more or less time depending on your research topic.

Important Note: The survey software (Qualtrics) records your responses as well as how long you spend on the activity, and information about the date and time your do the activity. A report of your entries in the activity will be sent to your instructor. 

Com 101 Library Activity Part 1:

Why Books?

Books are often helpful when writing research papers because they can offer an overview of a subject, in-depth treatment of a subject, and a broader view of a subject than most journal articles. While the length of books can be intimidating, it’s important to know that for many research papers, you don’t need to read an entire book – using the index and/or table of contents will help you find the sections of the book that you can use for your research.

If at any point you have questions, please let your librarian, Erica Nicol, know.

Finding Books at WSU

To find books in the WSU Libraries, your best bet is to start at the libraries homepage: On this page, you will see a big search box under the heading Search It.

Library home page with Search It text box circled


Search It is the Libraries’ online catalog. You can enter keywords (also called search terms, these are words that reflect the key concepts of your topic) to find relevant sources in Search It. For more in-depth information about how to choose search terms, check out the Libraries’ How Do I Develop Keywords tutorial:

Using a sample search on the keywords radio journalism in Search It pulls up a large list of books, articles, and media materials having to do with journalism and radio. To see only the sources in the list that are books, you can click on the Books link on the left side of the page –

basic keyword search in Search It


After you limit your search to books, you should see only print books and ebooks in your results list:

a sample search in Search It limited to the source type, "print books."


If you see a title that looks promising, you can click on the title. This will pull up a page of information about the book, often including a synopsis and information about the titles of chapters. Looking at this information can help you decide if the book will be useful to your research. Using the example of the list above, looking at the details of books will allow you to distinguish between books about the history of radio journalism and books offering guidelines or instruction in radio journalism.

When you find a book you’d like to check out, look for the Call Number, a combination of letters and numbers that will help you locate the book in the libraries.

a book record and call number in Search It


Once you write down the call number, you can use the Map It button to find your book and pull it from the shelf. 

screenshot of the Map It button


Helpful Links for Com 101 Library Research Using Books

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