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Engineering 339 (Senior Design)

Advice for Searching and Finding

Get Books Worldwide

You can discover, and possibly retrieve, any book published in the world using these tools 

Library Catalog

 The Library Catalog contains links to every physical item and electronic item owned by Calvin's library. The search interface defaults to searching everything in the library except government documents. Below are some basic hints and search tips

Search Tip #1 More About Searching the Library Catalog

Search Tip #2 More About the Library's Call Number System

Search Tip #3 Limiting Your Search to a Single Collection

The library contains many sub-collections: E-Books, E-Journals, Reference, Cayvan, Government Documents, Curriculum Center, and more. You can limit your search to only one sub-collection by selecting it as illustrated below.

Screenshot of Hekman Library catalog search with the "Hekman Library" option circled in red.

Search Tip #4 Using Topic Subjects

Topic Subjects describe the intellectual content of the book. Every book will have at least one and most will have several, as illustrated below. Suppose you're searching for books on reforestation and you discover this book in the Library Catalog.

Screenshot of search results in Hekman Library catalog.

Note the words and phrases in the Topic Subject field. If you click on one of them, the system will re-search the database and retrieve all the books that use that topic subject. Or you can go back to the search page and enter one of the words from the Topic Subject list as illustrated below. Remember to choose SUBJECT!

Screenshot of Hekman catalog search options with "Subject" circled in red.


Search Tip #5 Using the Search Results Data 

After you perform a search, a large amount of useful data appears on the left hand side of the search results. Use that information to refine your search or to find other useful books.


MelCat is a state-wide database representing the holdings of nearly every library in Michigan - more than 6 million unique book titles. Calvin community members may request that an item be sent to Hekman Library for pick up at the main circulation desk on 2nd floor. The turn around time is 3-5 days.

MelCat replaces Interlibrary loan if the requested item is a book held in Michigan libraries. Interlibrary loan is still the preferred method of delivery for books held outside Michigan and for all journal article requests.


WorldCat is a database containing records for the holdings of 12,000+ libraries worldwide - more than 100 million unique titles. WorldCat is ideal for locating nearly every published book dealing with your research topic.

Obviously, Calvin owns only a fraction of these items! To retrieve an item:

  • WorldCat (Calvin Community): Click on Icon - Two white buildings with two arrows pointing at each other in a dark grey box. in the upper left corner of the item's screen
  • WorldCat (Public): Locate Request Item through Interlibrary Loan on the item's screen