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How do I Research?: Finding Books

A guide to conducting research for OCAD U coursework and beyond

To Find PRINT Books

To find PRINT books at the OCAD U Library, use:


  • Summon Search, but use "More Search Options" and limit:
    • Content Type: Book/eBook
    • Show Only: Items in the library catalog (includes mostly print and physical material)

As an example, view the different results between:

You may be surprised that

  • the Catalogue claims that we have NO print books with these search terms,
  • while Summon offers almost 500 titles!  How can this be possible?

The reason for this surprising difference lies in WHAT information each tool searches:

  • Library Catalogue: searches only a book's:
    • Title
    • Author(s)
    • Library of Congress Subjects
    • and sometimes the Table of Contents of brief description of the book
  • Summon Search will use Google Books metadata to KEYWORD search:
    • the entire text of the book, then will aggregate the results with our holdings at the OCAD U Library. 

To Find E-Books

To find E-BOOKS at the OCAD U Library, try using:

  • Summon Search and use "More Search Options" but limit to
    • Content Type: Books/eBooks
    • Show Only: Items With Full Text Online


  • Ebrary Ebooks to find academic, university press books;non-governmental organization's documents;some Canadian public policy and governmental documents; publications by First Nations, Metis, Inuit organizations.


  • Scholars Portal Ebooks to find university press publications; Canadian university press publications.

Finding a General Context = Finding Books

Finding Books will oftentimes provide you with a GENERAL CONTEXT which explores HOW a THEORY is expressed in culture.


For a general CONTEXT: ask the question HOW, for ex.

  • HOW do community stakeholders understand a design problem?
  • HOW does this differ from my views?
  • HOW can we resolve these divisions?
  • HOW do mediums used in an artwork interact with the formal elements?
  • HOW do artists conceptualize THEORIES in their artworks?