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Communication and Media Arts Research Guide: Finding Books

An introductory guide to research in Communication & Media Arts at Sacred Heart University Library

Searching the Library Catalog

Use the Library Catalog to search our collection of over 310,000 books, videos, journal titles*, and other resources, including links to over 150,000 electronic books and almost 50,000 electronic journals.

Keyword searching is a good place to start, since it uses natural language – you can search your topic in your words.  A keyword search will return records that include the words you entered, anywhere in the record – title, chapter heading, subject, etc.  This can make a search very broad – but is also very useful in finding your topic in, say, just one chapter of a book. To narrow a too-broad keyword search, browse the subject links on records of the books that are most relevant to your topic, and click to find other relevant books.

Search the catalog by title if you are looking for a particular book, or by author for a particular person’s works.

Subject searching uses a controlled vocabulary – for example, the subject heading in our catalog for “Television journalism” is “Television broadcasting of news.”  If you search “Television journalism” as a keyword, you will find records that include those words – say, in the title of the book.  If you search “Television broadcasting of news” as a subject, you will get records for books on the topic, whether those books describe “Television journalism” or “Television broadcasting of news”.  

A keyword search looks for words, but a subject search looks for a concept. Because of their different strengths, using both keyword and subject searching will often get the best results.

Use Advanced Keyword Search for additional search options, and to limit your search by location, type of material, language, or year.

*To search for journal articles focused on the disciplines of the School of Communication and Media Arts, use this page for further information.

Exploring the Shelves

If you want to simply browse the shelves of the Ryan Matura Library for materials, you can look for works dealing with Communication and Media Arts by call number. Use the subclass designations at the beginning of the call number to direct you to information on the topic of your choice. Below is a list of the Library of Congress subclass call numbers for Anthropology:

  • P87-96                         Communication. Mass Media
    • P94.7                     Interpersonal communication
    • P95-95.6                 Oral Communication. Speech


  • P99-99.4                Semiotics. Signs and symbols
  • P99.5-99.6             Nonverbal communication

  • PN1990-1992.92        Broadcasting
    • PN1991-1991.9       Radio broadcasts
    • PN1992-1992.92     Television broadcasts


  • PN1992.93-1992.95  Nonbroadcast video recordings
  • PN1993-1999             Motion Pictures
  • PN2000-3307             Dramatic representation. Theater

  • PN4699-5650         Journalism. The periodical press, etc.
    • PN4735-4748         Relation to the state. Government and the press. Liberty of the press
    • PN4775-4784         Technique. Practical journalism
    • PN4825-4830         Amateur journalism
    • PN4832-4836         Magazines and other periodicals
    • PN4840-5648         By region or country
    • PN5650                The Jewish press

  • TR1-1050                    Photography
    • TR250-265             Cameras
    • TR287-500             Photographic processing. Darkroom Technique
    • TR510-545             Color photography
    • TR550-581             Studio and laboratory
    • TR590-620             Lighting
    • TR624-835             Applied photography
    • TR845-899             Cinematography. Motion pictures
    • TR925-1050           Photomechanical processes

Electronic Books

While books in the collection, whether print or digital, can all be found using the library catalog, a large number of the library's electronic books are accessible directly from the eBook Academic Collection.

-eBook Academic Collection

Because the "Browse by Category" options from the eBook Academic Collection homepage don't present any specific subject categories that directly relate to the disciplinary foci of the School of Communication and Media Arts, I recommend beginning your search with keywords that are specific to your research topic. For our example, let's type in "ethics in journalism," which automatically populates the search box, and click search

This search yields 22 results, published from 1996 to 2014.

For our example, let's say we want to focus on current research on ethics in journalism. The first result is current (2014) and from the title appears to match our needs, so click on the title of the initial entry, Journalism Ethics for the Digital Age. This will take you to a record for the book.

The record view allows us to explore other works from the author by clicking the hyperlinked author name. It also gives us basic publication information and a brief description of the work. From the description we can determine whether or not this title is appropriate for our research focus. If it is, we can use the hyperlinked subject terms to find more works on this same subject. Let's click on "Journalism--Objectivity" to find more works focused on this subject

The "Results List" page displays 7 items indexed with the subject "Journalism--Objectivity." You can mine the works listed for other potentially fruitful subject terms, or you can further limit your existing results by using the "Refine Results" menu to the left of the page.

Interlibrary Loan

What is Interlibrary Loan (ILL)?

Interlibrary loan (ILL) is a free service that obtains books and articles that the library does not own.  All faculty, staff and students can use this service.  All you need is a current SHU email address and password to set up an ILL account.  First time users can visit the library website to activate this account.  Remember, this is not an immediate service.  Some requests may take longer than others.  Contact Shari Baron at 203-371-7705 and/or with any questions.


Request an Interlibrary Loan

Please note: Before requesting an article, a book chapter, or book through the interlibrary loan, please search Sacred Heart University Library's catalog and Quick Search to make sure the library does NOT own the resource.  We cannot request items that we already own.  Consult the Reference Desk (203-371-7726) on the 1st floor of the Ryan Matura Library if you need further assistance determining the availability of an item. 

SHU Library Minute: InterLibrary Loan from Sacred Heart U Library on Vimeo.