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Research 101 (older version): I am only supposed to use print / non-internet sources

I Am Only Supposed To Use Print Or Non-Internet Sources

Nearly every academic journal is now published only electronically (online, as opposed to printed on paper), but this was not the case a generation ago.

The library also has access to more ebooks (books that are readable online) than to physical books. This was also not the case a generation ago. (an e-book is just a book that you happen to read on your computer: it is still a book!) Click here for more information on using e-books.)

Some assignments have not been updated to reflect this new reality, and yours may tell you NOT to use "online" or "Internet" sources. Here are suggestions for handling this:

  • First: Double-check the assignment requirements, and speak with your professor. By "online", your professor might mean that s/he does not want you to use commercial websites that you would find from Google, but WILL let you use online scholarly articles, reputable news articles, and online books available through the library's databases. This is very often the case, so it is worth your time to ask.
  • Next: If you can use online resources as long as they come through the library, continue your searches on OneSearch.

  • If your professor in fact only wants you to use printed, bound books, you can use the "items on shelf" filter in OneSearch to see only physical books. 
  • Items currently on shelf filter
    As you can see from the example above, limiting to only physical books will eliminate most of the available resources, particularly for topics of current interest, so please come to a librarian for assistance on the lower level of the library if you need help finding enough sources that fulfill the printed-book-only requirement.
  • You can also learn more about OneSearch here .
  • Finally: Physical books will have a call number that will enable you to find them in the library. See more about book locations here.

What kinds of books does Hostos Library have?

There are many different kinds of books. Here are a few types of books within Hostos Library:


icon of dictionary created by Smalllike from the Noun ProjectReference books

These books have information that you look up quickly.

  • Dictionaries give definitions.
  • Encyclopedias offer short overview.
  • Specialized reference books, like nursing plan books, offer quick look-it-up info for a particular field.

Our physical reference books are downstairs in the Information Learning Commons (room with the computers). Our digital reference books are online, and can be found through OneSearch (use the filter on the right for "reference entries") or in Gale Virtual Reference Library.

Here is an EXAMPLE of a reference book article.  

icon of dictionary by karina from the Noun ProjectGeneral audience books 

These books assume that you are interested in but not yet an expert in the subject. 

These books are likely to define and explain what they mean, instead of assuming you already know expert vocabulary.

EXAMPLE of a non-fiction book written for a general audience. 





icon ideas book created by Laymik from the Noun ProjectScholarly books

These books assume that you have already studied quite a bit about the topic.

They will explore ideas, events, people, or places in detail and depth.

EXAMPLE of a scholarly book. 




icon textbook created by Andrei Yushchenko from the Noun ProjectTextbooks

The library will put textbooks on reserve at the request of course professors. These required readings can be found upstairs in the reserves room (or in the case of three-day loans, at the circulation desk).

    • published by a university press, or by a publisher who specializes in an academic field
    • written by researchers and professors, while authors of general-audience books may or may not work in the academic world. 
    • more likely to include cited references, including journal articles, primary sources, and other scholarly books.


icon literature created by visual language from the Noun Projecticon Poetry created by Wes Breazell from the Noun Projecticon Theater created by Adrien Coquet from the Noun Project

Novels: Novels are long works of fiction that were imagined and created by their author. They may be realistic or fantastic. They may be based on historical events, or set in the present. We have novels in English, Spanish, and to a lesser extent other languages.

Short Stories: Short stories are usually published in anthologies, or collections, of stories written by many different authors.

The library also has plays and poetry.

To browse works of literature, you can look on the shelves in the "stacks" in the main reading room downstairs. For the most commonly read books at Hostos, see books that start with call numbers:

  • for literature in French - PQ (1-3999)
  • for literature in Spanish - PQ (6001-8929)
  • for British literature - all numbers starting with PR
  • for US literature - all numbers starting with PS

For call numbers of literature from other places and in other languages, see here. (You'll notice that although works from all over the world are represented, the Library of Congress classification system unfortunately reflects a Western/Northern bias, by creating much more detailed categories for works of literature in the Western and especially English-speaking world.)

We also have graphic novels,which include both works of fiction and non-fiction (especially reportage and memoir). Most, although not all, of our graphic novels can be found in the section with call numbers in the PN 6700-6800 range.


Go back to finding and evaluating sources

 Finding research sources Evaluating research sources


 Go back to getting startedgo to OneSearchGo to library home page