Why use books for research? Books often provide a focused, in-depth, thorough overview of a topic. They provide detailed information, context, and analysis. Books are very well-suited for historical issues, however, you can also find books on a wide range of current topics in our collections as well.
SpartaCat, the NCC Library Catalog, is an online tool that allows you to search for items owned by the Library. This includes books, e-books, encyclopedias, streaming videos, audiobooks, print periodicals, and more.
You have the option of performing many different searches within the library catalog:
Keyword: If you are looking for a general topic (like "global warming"), it is best to start here. It will search the title, summary, table of contents, and publication information of each of our books and items for the word or phrase you enter.
Author: If you are looking for books by a specific person, search using this. For example, if you want to find books by Edgar Allan Poe, enter his name like this: Poe, Edgar Allan.
Title: If you know the specific title of a work, choose this option.
Subject: Search the Subject Headings list. These are like #hashtags. They are the main word or phrase used to catalog the book and reflect what it is about, but they may not appear in the title, summary, table of contents, or publication information the way a keyword would.
While these are the most popular, basic types of searches, you could use one of the other options listed (ISBN, Genre, Series Title, Call Number, or Periodical Title) if it fits your needs.
To find books on our shelves, you will need to know the call number and shelf location of the book. It is also helpful to know its status. You can find this information by clicking on an item in your results list to view its details, and then scrolling to the availability section.
Stacks: The main collection of borrowable books in the libraries. Note the campus location indicated here.
Reference: An area for multi-volume encyclopedias, dictionaries, and handbooks. These books can only be used in the library, they cannot be checked out or borrowed. Note the campus location indicated here.
Reserves: Items set aside at the Circulation or Information Desk for specific courses. They may be in-library use only, have a shorter loan period, or have other restrictions. Note the campus and desk location indicated here.
Media Tower: The item is a DVD, VHS, or CD (although children's and young adult materials are in this location too) in the Bethlehem campus library.
Online: A digitial e-Book or streaming video viewed by clicking the provided access link.
New Books: A special section of the libraries for recent additions to our collection. Note the campus and desk location indicated here.
Browsing: An area for popular fiction and nonfiction titles and bestsellers. Note the campus and desk location indicated here.
Periodicals: A section of the libraries with print magazines and journals. Note the campus and desk location indicated here.
On Shelf: the item is available or on the shelf.
Due xx/xx/xxxx: the item is currently checked out and loaned to someone else. It is expected back to the library on the indicated date.
Look for the Item Type search result limiter.
Select Electronic Books and click Include to add this limiter or filter to your search.
This removes any and all items that are not eBooks from your search results.
In the results, eBooks will be tagged with the words Electronic Resource and their location will be Online. To view an eBook from the search results page, use the link labeled Click Here to Read Online. This Click Here to Read Online link also appears on the eBook's Item Details (or summary) page.
Clicking this link will open the eBook in a new screen. You may be prompted to login with your Northampton username and password before you can begin reading the book.
Watch our SpartaCat video tutorial for a search demonstration.
Reference books such as encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks, and guides are excellent for background information about your topic. They could include overviews, histories, people, events, statistics, and basic facts. Some cover a large variety of subjects while others just focus on topics within a specific subject area.
Reference books that may be useful for your research are not always easy to identify by searching SpartaCat since they contain information about many different topics and ideas within a subject or discipline.
Instead, you may find it's useful to browse the reference collections at each library by looking in the subjects that your topic falls within. If you find a book in the Stacks or Circulating collections, look in Reference in that same call number area to see if there is a reference book that may have information about your topic.
If you find a reference book or series that looks promising, check the table of contents, listing of entries, or index (which might be an entire book on its own) to find the exact volumes or pages of the section on your topic.
The library also has databases with online reference information. See the Articles in Library Databases tab for more.
You can search our individual eBook collections directly as well. They're linked below, but you can also find them listed on our Databases page.
eBooks from these collections also often appear in EBSCO Discovery Service search results. See the Articles in Library Databases tab to learn more about our EBSCO Discovery Service search tool.
If our eBooks aren't enough
There are many free, open access, publicly available eBooks collections on the Internet. Here are some of the most popular ones used for academic research:
You may discover a book that would be useful for your topic and research, only to find that the library does not have it in our collection. If that happens, you can submit an interlibrary loan request, and we will see if another library that has the book would be willing to lend it to us to lend to you. Plan ahead, as interlibrary loan books might take up to two weeks to arrive. Work with a librarian if you need help identifying books to interlibrary loan or assistance with the request.