Searching for suitable literature in the OPAC can be a real challenge and takes a lot of time. We’ll give you tips on how best to proceed.

Whether for homework, papers or chores: as a student you have to constantly research literature. That this is often not easy at the beginning is well known. That’s why we’ve listed a few tricks and tricks on how to get to library literature quickly and easily.

Tips for literature research in the OPAC of your university or university

The first way in the literature search should lead directly into the OPAC (Online Public Access Catalog) of your university library, because usually you find here on your topic already so much reading material that it would be sufficient for the next 6 semesters. But do not worry, you do not have to read everything that somehow affects your topic complex.

Therefore, it is advisable to browse the media pool for suitable works even before the first visit to the library in front of your home computer. The OPAC will tell you if a book or other medium exists in your library and will also show you works that are in the inaccessible magazines or borrowed.

If you are looking for a rough overview of your topic, first use the “Free Search” in the OPAC. You simply enter your search term and then click on “Search”. This mode does not restrict your search to individual fields, but finds all works in which the search term occurs somewhere. This may be quite useful, but on the other hand, with tens of thousands of hits found, it is often not effective. An example: if you are looking for the term ‘man’, you will see the works of Thomas Mann, books with the word man in the title, published in Berlin man published books, etc.

Of course you can filter your search by specifying certain criteria such as year of publication, signature, author or publisher. If you’re unsure about the author’s name, you can also use an asterisk (*); the input of Thomas Mülle * the authors Thomas Mülle, Thomas Mueller, Thomas Muller etc. Also, the keyword search can help you, because keywords or keywords outline only the content of the document and does not necessarily occur in the title of the work.

Note: Older works are often not recorded in OPAC, but only in the card catalogs of your university library. Unless otherwise required, you should get yourself a current research insight but anyway in the first line limit to literature that is not older than 10 years.

Journal articles are also usually not found in the OPAC. However, there is the possibility to search for articles and articles in topic-specific bibliographies. However, these books are often outdated by constantly new appearing posts shortly after publication. To v.a. To find more recent publications, take a look at the respective online journal database of your UB, a kind of electronic bibliography that is regularly updated with the latest articles.

After the literature search, create a booklist

You found suitable literature? Great, then create now a book list where you author, book title (+ if necessary subtitles), place and year of publication, page numbers and very important: the signature. So you do not only know where the respective book is in the UB, but later you also have an overview of which medium came from which article. Experience has shown that almost every student in the course of the study once happens that the copies get mixed up in the mess. With a careful overview, you can then save yourself the new passage to the library. Therefore always label copies and assemble!

Back to the signature: From the beginning of the book signature shows where you can find the book in the UB or how it can be used. If the medium belongs to the freely available stock, the local indicator points the way to the sublibrary or to the shelf area in which it can be found. If a book is in the magazine of the library, that is not freely accessible, this will be shown separately. In this case, you can then order it via the OPAC for loan or for the reading room.

If you have found suitable literature, then you can use it accordingly and taking into account the scientific citation rules for your housework.

Literature about interlibrary loan and the German National Library

If there is not a book you desperately need in your university library, you can also consider inter-library lending. This includes a service of the libraries, with the media that are not available on site, can be obtained from other libraries. The order is usually made via the inter-library function of your UB.

Copies of essays that can not be found anywhere else can also be found in the holdings of the German National Library with its locations in Leipzig and Frankfurt am Main, where all media published since 1913 in Germany as well as German-language media works published abroad (more than 27 million media) are collected , to order.

In addition to the interlibrary loan, you can also research directly on the net. Here you will also find many free eBooks for your housework, which can help you. But even here it is important not to forget the evidence!

TIP: Review the literature thoroughly and decide if you really need it for your topic. Nothing is more demotivating than having 20 books in front of you, of which only 5 are useful. A quick look at the table of contents with the chapter overview and in the summary can be a quick remedy.

Conclusion: The literature search is usually the most expensive part in the preparation of a paper or a housework. But with the right approach, you can save a lot of time.