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International Development Library Guide

Research tools for international development.

Intro: Why Books?

Books and journal articles are the most common way to access scholarly research in your field, but each has advantages and disadvantages.  Books take longer to research, write, and publish, so the information is not as current as in journal articles, which are shorter and slightly faster to publish.  However, because they are longer and took more time to produce, books offer more thorough coverage of a topic, draw on a wider range of preexisting scholarship, and often excel in placing an argument in broader thematic and disciplinary context.

Consider a scholarly book in your own research, and look for the following:

  • Helpful introduction and overview of the topic;
  • Comprehensive literature review, outlining the major scholars and existing points of view on the topic;
  • Detailed study of the topic, usually broken down into manageable chapters;
  • Extensive bibliography to help you and other scholars find related works on the topic.

Find Books in Library Search

All books and ebooks that Tulane University Libraries (TUL) own are cataloged and discoverable in Library Search.

The main access point to Library Search is on the TUL homepage,

Start by clicking on Advanced Search:


To limit your search to print books and ebooks, make sure to select the LIBRARY CATALOG button at the top of the Advanced Search, and BOOKS from the Resource Type dropdown to the right of the search lines:


If an ebook of the title is available, you will see a record with an Available Online link. If the book is available in print, you will see a call number consisting of the library location and an alphanumeric 'address':

How to Find a Book in the Library Stacks

When you see a print book you're interested in, how do you retrieve it and check it out?

Think of the call number--circled below in red--as the 'address' of the book. 


Tulane Libraries use call numbers following the Library of Congress (LC) classification system. Watch the below video from the Storms Research Center at the University of Valley Forge to learn how the LC system works.

And check out this video on using the MAP IT feature to find a book in our stacks:

When you find the book/s you're looking for, you can check them out on the 1st floor of Howard-Tilton Memorial Library.

Have a Library Worker Retrieve Your Book!

One of the benefits of going to look for a book in the stacks yourself is that you can browse books related to your topic on the surrounding shelves.

BUT, if you'd prefer to skip the process of going to the stacks to find a book, you can log into your library account and use the Request Delivery button in the item record:

request delivery button to order a book in Tulane Libraries

You'll get an email when your book is ready to pick up! Click here for further instructions, or watch the video below:

Other Ways to Discover Books

TU Library Search will only show you the books we do have. Google Books and WorldCat are two great databases for discovering books we do AND don't have:

What If Tulane Doesn't Have a Book I Need?

If Tulane doesn't have a book you need, register to use Tulane Libraries' Interlibrary Loan service, ILLiad.

ILLiad allows students, faculty, and staff of Tulane University to place Interlibrary Loan requests for materials from outside universities quickly and efficiently. 

Although it can take as little as a few days to receive an ILL request, please allow 10-14 days.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.