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CIV220: Toronto's Ecology & Infrastructure

Finding books for your project

Use the library catalogue to find good quality books on your topic. It includes hardcopy & online materials at all University of Toronto Libraries.

  • Use simple, general keywords
  •   e.g. urban ecology
  • Use the boolean operator OR to broaden your search using synonyms or related terms,
  • e.g., urban ecosystem OR urban environment
  • Use the boolean AND to connect separate concepts,
  • e.g.,  mammal AND urban
  • Use brackets ( ) to organize boolean search terms logically,
  • e.g., (wastewater OR waterworks) AND (urban OR city)

This video gives more tips on searching for books in the catalogue.


Look for useful items and also look for patterns

  • Are there a number of relevant books that begin with the same call number? 
  • You will find more hardcopy books on your topic under that general call number area
  • The 'stacks' (i.e., bookstacks) in Engineering Library are up the spiral stairs

How Do I find a Book on the Shelves?

When you find a useful book, make note of the:

  • call number  e.g., TA170 .S24 2010
  • library             e.g., Engineering Library
  • location within that library  e.g., stacks

Book Already Signed Out?

If someone has already signed out the book you want, you can 'REQUEST" it, i.e., place a 'HOLD' on it.

Use the 'REQUEST' button for that book:

The person who currently has the book will get an email asking them to return the book. Plan ahead though - don't leave your library research till the last minute! The person who currently has the book does have the right to keep it for a minimum of two weeks even after it's been 'REQUESTED'.

If three or more people 'REQUEST' a book it will be placed on Short Term Loan. That means that it will be available for much shorter loan periods, e.g., one day loans versus two week loans, so more people will have a chance to sign it out.