With the increasing numbers of electronic materials available in the catalog, many faculty and students (and librarians) lament the loss of the serendipity that comes from browsing the shelves and finding unknown material. While walking the stacks is by no means dead, a reliance on only print sources can now mean that you miss important publications that may only exist electronically. Fear not, however, you can browse the shelves of the Z. Smith Reynolds Library virtually, so to speak, using the features of the online catalog. Below are some hints for those who want to try it out.
From the catalog, you can go to any record and use the links within the record to browse similar items.
- Author’s Name: See all the other books in the catalog by that author.
- Subjects: Most books have assigned subject headings, and each heading is a link. If you see a subject that looks particularly relevant, click it and see what other items in the catalog also have that subject.
- Call Number: The call numbers are also links. You can virtually see what would be on the shelf next to your item. Many e-books have Library of Congress call numbers specifically to enable this kind of browsing.
- Similar Items: This box on the right side of the results screen shows items with similar subjects and call numbers to your item.
All these things should allow you to easily find other materials related to your research right from your computer screen. You will have access to print books, e-books, items from Offsite Storage and fully online items such as government documents and primary source material from databases. Happy browsing!