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Communication and Digital Studies: Books

A research guide to finding books, articles, and other resources in Communication

Locating books on the shelves

When you find a physical book in Quest, write down its call number, and then go to the shelves.

To use call numbers, read them from the top down.

A label on the spine of a book, displaying the call number PR 8875 .P46 1999

For example, here's how you'd find this book:

  • First, follow the alphabet to the PR section of the library, which is part of the larger P section.
  • Next, within the PR section, look in numerical order for 8875.
  • Next, within the books numbered 8875, look in alphabetical and numerical order for .P46.
  • (1999 is the year the book was published.)

Library of Congress Classification

Books are shelved according to Library of Congress Classification. In this system, the library is divided into twenty-one broad subject areas, each of which is assigned one letter of the alphabet.

Here are some noteworthy classifications for Communcation:

  • HM711-806 Groups and organizations
    • HM756-781 Community
    • HM786-806 Organizational sociology. Organization theory
  • HM831-901 Social change
  • P87-96 Communication. Mass media
    • P94.7 Interpersonal communication
    • P95-95.6 Oral communication. Speech
  • P101-410 Language. Linguistic theory. Comparative grammar
    • P301-301.5 Style. Composition. Rhetoric
  • PN101-245 Authorship
    • PN172-239 Technique. Literary composition, etc.
  • PN4001-4355 Oratory. Elocution, etc.
    • PN4071-4095 Study and teaching
    • PN4177-4191 Debating
    • PN4199-4321 Recitations (in English)
    • PN4331-4355 Recitations in foreign languages

Search Strategies

  • If you know the book you are looking for, use the UMW catalog.  Use Advanced Search to combine author and title.
  • Use quotation marks to search for a phrase, as in "Ancient Greece" or "Roman Britain".
  • Use the options under "Refine My Search" to narrow your results.
  • The Virtual Shelf Browse will allow you to see what books are shelved near the one you've found.  You can browse the shelves without coming to the libray!
  • Sign into the system to request that a book be held for you, or to request a scan of parts of it. 

InterLibrary Loan (ILL)

If you find an item that belongs to another library, you may request to borrow it through InterLibrary loan (ILL).

To find items owned by other libraries, visit WorldCat


To place an InterLibrary loan request, log in to your free Simpson Library ILL Account using your UMW username and password.

Cooperative Borrowing Program