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Getting Started: Print Books

An introduction to the library services of the Bishop Ransom Library.

Print Sill Matters

The first thing people think when they hear the word library is "a place to get books." While the model of libraries and librarianship has very much been transformed in the information era, the library is still a place to discover, locate, and make use of books. Not everything is accessible with the click of a button. Print still matters.

  • Lending Rules: Books are loaned to students for 3 weeks and may be renewed up to 6 times for a maximum 21 week loan period, as long as another user does not request the borrowed item. Faculty have a 6 week loan period which can be renewed up to 6 times for a maximum 42 week loan period, so long as the item is not requested by another user. Non-Book items are loaned for 1 week and are not renewable. For more information see OhioLINK's Frequently Asked Questions.

Ohio Private Academic Libraries (OPAL)

Searching from the Bishop Ransom Library page will produce results from the OPAL on-line catalog, which is shared by 24 libraries in Ohio.


The search results are a list of short records based on your search term. Take note of the item's Location, Call Number, and Status. More details about each item is in its Full Record, which can be seen by selecting the item title.

  • Be careful using the Add to List feature to save chosen records. Your saved list will only remain saved so long as your web browser remains open.


Due to circumstances beyond our control, Payne's borrowing privileges within the OPAL network have been temporarily suspended. This means our students can only check-out materials from the Wilberforce/Payne library.

From the OPAL Catalog select Limit Your Search and then choose Wilberforce/Payne from the Location drop-down to see items that can currently be borrowed.


Another place to discover print books, in addition to other materials, is the OhioLINK online catalog. This catalog is shared among a broad network of Ohio libraries, and as a result simplifies the process of discovering and requesting libraries. Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond our control, we cannot request items within the OhioLINK network.

Instead of lamenting, I will take this opportunity to discuss call numbers and subject headings.

Because OhioLINK is a network of academic, public, and research libraries, both Dewey Decimal call numbers and Library of Congress call numbers are displayed in an item's record. Dewey Decimal is typically, though not exclusively, used to index materials in public libraries, while the Library of Congress classification system is used in academic libraries. Its important to know which classification system is being used in a given library or else you can not locate materials or browse the shelves effectively.

Another feature to note in the OhioLink catalog are Library of Congress Subject Headings, which is discussed below.


A useful tool for finding library materials is Worldcat, which provides a global picture of library holdings. There are two versions of WorldCat:

  1. (website, open access)
  2. WorldCat First Search (database, restricted access)


The First Search database provides more search options than the WorldCat website. If you have the option (which you currently do), use the First Search database above the WorldCat website.

Library of Congress Subject Headings [LCSH]

Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) are extremely useful when searching, particularly when they are linked as they are in the OhioLINK catalog and in First Search.

Look in an item's record under Subject(s).

Use these linked subjects to discover other materials classified under the same subject headings.