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History Resources: Books

Locating Books and Call Numbers

Most books that deal with historical topics are shelved in the Central Library. The catalog shows the book call number and location. 

A book that is CHECKD-OUT may be recalled by clicking on the Recall this item icon at the bottom right of the catalog record. You will be notified when the recalled item is available for your use.

Need help making sense of the Call # you found in ACORN?  or where to find the book in the library? 

Click the link below for more information.

How to Read a Call Number

Book Catalogs

ACORN is the library catalog for ALL nine Vanderbilt Libraries.  You can use it to find:

  • Books
  • DVDs & Videos
  • Periodical Titles (not individual articles)
  • Reserve materials
  • and more...

DiscoverLibrary logo

DiscoverLibrary provides one interface for searching the ACORN catalog, the U.S. Congressional Serial Set, DiscoverArchives, the Global Music Archives, the Television News Archives and much more.                                                             

Image result for hathitrust logoHathiTrust Digital Library

HathiTrust Digital Library includes full-text of materials, many out of copyright (1923 or before), and records of later materials to the Vanderbilt community from the a partnership of major U.S. academic and research libraries.

Google Books. Searches the full text of books and selected magazines that Google has scanned, converted to text using optical character recognition, and stored in its digital database. Most titles are no longer in print or commercially available.

Center for Research Libraries (CRL). A consortium of North American libraries that acquire and preserve newspapers, journals, documents, archives, etc. CRL holdings can be borrowed for extended periods via Interlibrary Loan.


Materials Beyond Vanderbilt


WorldCat contains more than 125 million records describing items owned by U.S. libraries and libraries around the world.  

These items include books, manuscripts, musical scores, films, newspapers, etc.

Use to locate Vanderbilt holdings or request from Interlibrary Loan.

Finding Primary Sources

  • Go to Advanced Search in the online catalog
  • Under Subject enter "sources or personal narratives or diaries" (without the quotes)
  • Under Words anywhere enter terms related to your topic
  • Find Subject Headings related to your topic that include words such as "sources, "personal narratives," or "diaries"
  • Sample subject headings that are applied to primary sources (click on these in the cataloging record to find similar items):
    • personal narratives, American
    • Autobiography--African American authors
    • Speeches, addresses, etc., Latin