Skip to main content

General Research

This guide is an overview of services the CSUDH library offers, and tips for conducting research.

Finding Books


How to Locate a Print Book

Books in the library are organized according to the Library of Congress classification system. Each book has a unique call number. They are organized so that similar subjects are next to each other on the shelf.

When you find a book that you want in the library catalog, write down the call number and location. Books on the 3rd and 4th floor are accessible to everyone, books in the closed stacks need to be picked up from the Pick-Up & Check-Out desk at the library entrance.

Screenshot of a sample book record from the library catalog, with a red box around the call number.

Books are located on the 3rd and 4th floors of the library South, and in closed stacks for storage. For detailed maps, please view our library floor plans.

  South Building
3rd Floor A-HC
4th Floor HD-Z
Closed Stacks

Important, but less used materials from all subject areas. Retrieve from the Pick-Up & Check-Out desk at the library entrance.


Example:  RC280 .B8 L58 1980b

  • According to the chart above, R books are located on the 4th Floor South Building.
  • Go to the 4th Floor South and look for "RC" (between RB and RD).
  • Follow the numbers after the RC’s until you get to 280 (two hundred and eighty, not 2-8-0).
  • Look for all the RC280s with letters following them, and find the letter B.
  • Go to B8.
  • Look for all the RC280.B8’s, and find the letter L.
  • Go to L58 (fifty eight, not 5-8).
  • Look for the year 1980 at the end of the call number. 
  • There is your book!

Some books will have additional "Collection Codes" in front of the call number. These items are shelved in a separate area from the rest of the library items, as listed below.

  • Atlas - Atlas cases on the 2nd floor South behind the Info & Research Help desk.
  • Children and Teen - 2nd floor South behind the Info & Research Help desk.
  • Folio- 2nd floor South behind the Info & Research Help desk.
  • News - Newspaper current issues, 2nd floor North at the Course Reserves desk.
  • RBR - Course Reserves desk, 2nd floor North
  • Ref - Reference Area, 2nd floor South behind the  Info & Research Help desk.
  • SpCol - Special Collections & Archives, 5th Floor South.
  • WebSite - Online item. Click on the link in the catalog to access the item.

Get Books We Don't Have in the Library (Interlibrary Loan)

You can search for and request books from other libraries that we do not have here at CSUDH. This process is called interlibrary loan (ILL).

  • ILL is a free service, available to all students.
  • ILL is not available for textbooks or ebooks, only print books.
  • ILL takes approximately two weeks, and you will need to pick up your books in person from the University Library. ILL policies are available here.
  • You will first need to create an ILL account, using your MyCSUDH username and password.
  • You will need to know the author, title, date of publication, and ISBN number in order to request a book through ILL. This information can be found through searching Worldcat.
  • Worldcat is a huge combined catalog of over 72,000 libraries, including CSUDH.
  • Once you find the book you need in Worldcat, click on the link that say “Click HERE to get a copy”. This will automatically fill out the ILL form for you.

Screenshot of the WorldCat database, with a red arrow pointing out the link "Click HERE to get a copy"

Finding Dissertations / Theses

The library keeps a copy of all the masters theses that have been written by CSUDH students. Print copies from 1995-2015 are available on the 4th Floor South on the low shelves between study tables, and older theses are shelved throughout the library by subject. If you know the author or title, you can search for them directly in the library catalog. To search for CSUDH theses:

  • Locate main search box on the Library home page
  • Type "CSUDH Dissertations" and any other search critera like the subject, and hit 'Search'.
  • You can narrow by year using the options on the left hand side of the screen.
  • For theses from other Universities, you can search for your subject and check the theses box on the left hand side of the screen.

In addition, check out these databases of digital theses and dissertations: