Skip to Main Content

RLST 2644 - Buddhist Traditions - McNicholl

Finding Sources

Finding Books in the Library


  • You can search the library catalog for titles or authors.  Limiting to VU Collections is recommended.
  • If you're looking for something more topical (e.g., Buddhism and women, Buddhism and the environment, Buddhism and race, Buddhism and modernity), do the following:
    • Skip the library catalog and go directly to Oxford Bibliographies: Buddhism. You'll eventually end up back in the catalog, looking for specific titles recommended in the relevant Oxford Bibliographies essays.

    • Do some keyword searching for your topic. Use the Advanced Search, limit to VU Collections, and change the dropdowns next to each search field to "Any field":

      Advanced search, limited to VU Collections, for "Any field" buddhis* AND "Any field" (environment* OR ecolog*)

      Think of alternative terms that you can add to the search with "ORs": environment OR ecology. And use an asterisk (*) to get variants on a term: environment* gets results with environment, environments, environmental, environmentalist, etc.
    • Look through your search results. Click on the titles of the items that look relevant, scroll down to the Details section, and look at the subject headings. Select subject headings that look helpful, and see what else the library has on the topic.

      One of the search results looks good.  Select the title to see the detailed record.

      In the detailed record, scroll down to find the subject heading links.  Select those that look useful to see what else the library has on those topics.

Below are some other resources for finding books, journal articles, and other materials. 

While we don't have everything listed in these resources, (1) you can often get something of interest from another library (through interlibrary loan), and (2) for books, some of these resources can often point you to relevant materials more efficiently than just searching in VU Collections.


Also useful is the H-Buddhism Bibliography Project.  You can search it or navigate it by tags from the Items pageHere's what's in the bibliography for the Platform Sutra.

Need help reading bibliographic citations?  Browse to the Understanding Citations and Finding Items research guide.

What do I need for an ILL request?

All you need is your VUnet ID and password, and the citation information for the resource you are requesting.  Login to the library's Interlibrary Loan Service.

Need help?  Contact me with questions!



What is Interlibrary Loan?

Interlibrary Loan or ILL (sometimes also called interloan, document delivery, or document supply etc.) is a service whereby a user of one library can borrow books or receive photocopies of documents that are owned by another library. The user makes a request with their local library (in this case Vanderbilt's Heard Library), which, acting as an intermediary, identifies owners of the desired item, places the request, receives the item, makes it available to the user, and arranges for its return.

Do I need to use ILL?

ILL is an optional service.  Most undergraduates are able to complete their research assignments using the resources available at the Vanderbilt Libraries.  Occasionally the resources you need for a research assignment will not be available.  That's when ILL can come to the rescue.

Who can make an ILL request?

Vanderbilt faculty, staff, and currently enrolled students.

What can I request?

We can usually borrow from other libraries the kinds of materials that would circulate here: books and reprints, scores, proceedings, etc.. Microforms, newspaper back files, dissertations, and government documents often are available, but may need special handling. Periodical volumes, reference books, rare or fragile items, videotapes, and very old or very new imprints cannot normally be borrowed. We can request copies of journal articles and many other items that cannot be borrowed.

How long does it take?

Locating and receiving books and articles usually takes a few weeks or less, but sometimes takes several months or longer. Service may be slower during busy times, and we are limited in the number of items we can process at once for a single patron. You should try to determine your needs early, and time your requests to allow for delays and to avoid receiving more than you can use in the time allowed for loans.   A good rule of thumb:  Budget at least two weeks for receiving an ILL request.

What does it cost?

Absolutely Free!


Want to find books in other libraries?



Try WorldCat!

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

Save Time! Let the Databases Do the Work!

Most library databases contain a link for each article labeled "cite" or "cite this." You can click on these links to get a pre-generated citation from the database. 

REMEMBER! Citations from databases are machine-generated, and they can and do contain mistakes. Review your citations closely to make sure they contain no errors.

More about citations at the Understanding Citations and Finding Items guide.