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SOMi 220: Core Topics in Biomedical Sciences: Details on Finding Books


This page explains how to locate books in the UCSD Libraries and beyond.  Whether in print or electronic format, the UCSD Libraries have hundreds of thousands of books to help you with your studying and research needs.  You can even request books from other libraries if UCSD does not have what you need.

Use this page to learn how to:


Don't forget to check the right-hand sidebar for tutorials and FAQs:

  • UC Libraries Tutorial on Finding Books
  • FAQs on Checking Out Books
  • Video Tutorial on Finding e-Books
  • Preventing Plagiarism

    Search for Books in the UCSD Libraries

    Start your search - Use Roger, the library's catalog.

    There's a link to the catalog on the top of every library web page. You will find print and electronic books in Roger, as well as periodicals, film, music, maps and all other materials collected by the libraries. Here we'll focus on books.

    The default search screen is a basic keyword search- great when you are starting out your search for books on a new topic. If you know a particular author or title you want to search, you can choose Title or Author from the drop down menu for a more precise search, e.g.:



    Narrowing your search using Subject Headings:

    A keyword search is great when you're starting out, but to get a more specific set of books on your topic try using subject headings. Subject headings use a set vocabulary to group together books on the same topic.It's a more organized way to search. Starting out a new topic though, you probably won't know the subject heading terminology to use. A great trick is to do a keyword search, find books that meet your needs and look for the subject headings.

     In the following example I started with a keyword search "green building" and of my results list (482 items) I clicked on a promising title to get to this full-page description. The subject headings are the blue hyperlinks near the end of the description:


    Click on the hyperlinked subjects to get a new set of results, all with the same subject heading. Hint: Consider right-clicking on the hyperlink to open the subject heading results in a new tab or window so that you don't lose track of your initial search results.

    Locate and Check Out Books

    How do I locate a book once I’ve found it in Roger?

    From your results list, click on the title to view a full record of the book. We'll use our "green building" search again. Look for three key pieces of information for locating it in the library:  Location, Call Number, and Status:


    Tip:  Each library will have maps and signs to point you toward the call number you need. Please ask library staff for help if you have any questions. Until you're used to the system, it can seem a bit strange.


    How do I check out the books once I find them?

    All regular students, staff and faculty at UCSD may check out materials marked “Available” in the Roger catalog. Just bring your books to one of our Circulation Desks or Self-Checkout stations. Your UCSD ID card is also your library card, and the barcode on the back is your library card number.  

    Have more questions?  Check out our FAQ: Checking out Books in the right-hand column of this page.

    Get a Hold of a Book that's Checked Out or Not Available

    Help! The book I need isn't here - what can I do? If the the book you need us checked out or just not available through UCSD don't give up! You have options. You may 1)  request it from another library or  2) place a hold to put your name on a waiting list for the book.

    1) Find and request books from other nearby libraries. You can use two other library catalogs, Circuit or Melvyl, to find books and request delivery to UCSD (free of charge!).

    Circuit - San Diego area universities catalog Melvyl - UC combined catalog
    Books usually delivered to UCSD Libraries within 48 hours, M-F. Books usually delivered to UCSD Libraries within a week.
    Searches the holdings of UC San Diego, SDSU, USD, Cal State San Marcos and the San Diego County Library system. Searches the holdings of all 10 University of California campuses plus libraries worldwide.


    Link to Circuit and Melvyl from your search results in the UCSD library catalog

    Look for the links on the right-hand side of the page, the system automatically repeats your search in the Circuit or Melvyl catalogs:

    Place Your Request

    Both of these additional catalogs provide a tool for requesting the book you want.  

    • In Circuit, look for the blue request button.  For example, this is the view on the page with the details about the book.

    Select your location and enter your information including your UCSD PIN - for details on creating it, see My Library Account tab.

    • In Melvyl, look for the yellow Request button.  You can find it on the item's details page.

    You will need your library barcode (21822 ...  on the back of your campus ID), select a pick up location, and enter your email address so we can alert you when the book is received.

     2) Get on a waiting list for the UCSD copy:

    Getting a copy from another library is generally the fastest strategy but another option is to add your name to a waiting list for the UCSD copy by placing a hold request.

     Placing a hold request prevents the person with the book from renewing it. In some cases it may also shorten the due date so that person must return the book sooner. Once the book is returned the next person on the list will be notified that the book is on hold for them.

    To place your hold request just look for the request button in the online catalog:  


    Tip: You will need the barcode on your student ID/Library Card for all of these services. For Circuit and to place a hold request on the UCSD copy you will also need a PIN.

    To learn how to set up and use your PIN go to the My Library Account tab at the top of this page.


      Find e-Books

      Use Roger to find which e-Books the library owns.  Books in both print and electronic format are included in the online catalog. The largest number of e-Books are on science-related topics, but an increasing number of Social Science and Humanities e-Books are also available. Keep in mind that many important and useful books in the library are only available in print format.  

      For a tutorial and additional details, go to the Learn More About e-Books box in right side-bar of this page.

      Search for online books with keywords in the search box above.
      Or, to search by author or title, change the menu option above from Keyword to Author or Title
      To search for other resources or use more advanced options, go to the full library catalog search.

      Find Books on Reserve

      Your professor may put books and other items on reserve so that all students can have access to them. Check Reserves for a list of the available books and online resources for your class. You can either search by course number (e.g., BIEB 132) or by instructor's name.  For more information about reserves and how to use them, click the Using Reserves tab at the top of this page.

      Ask a Librarian

      Get help when you need it. Check out the options.

      UC Libraries Tutorial: Finding Books

      Learn more:

      • Why are books important to your research?
      • How does a catalog help you?
      • What is the best strategy for searching a catalog?

      Take the UC Libraries Tutorial: "Find Books"

      Take the UC Libraries Tutorial: "Why Do I Need a Call Number?"

      Do you know it all already?  Quiz yourself - can you answer these 4 questions?

      Quiz Yourself: UC Tutorial on Finding Books

      FAQ: Checking Out Books

      Where do I go?

      Check out books at the main circulation desk in each library building. In Geisel it's the one across from the entry doors. If the line is long, or if you're more of a do-it-yourself person, use the Self-Checkout machines:


      What do I need?

      UCSD ID card is your library card; you will need it to check out books.

      Your Student ID card = Library card



      How long can I have the book?

      Lending times will vary between libraries and will depend on whether you are an undergraduate or a graduate student. Be sure to ask when you check out. If you forget the due date simply check your My Library Account. For more information on using your library account go to the Using My Library Account tab on the top of this page.

      How can I renew my books?

      Most library material (excluding course reserves) may be renewed online, over the phone, or in-person.

      Learn More About e-Books

      Details About UCSD's e-book Collection:

      Get subject-specific details:

       Science & Engineering  Biomedical Library
       Social Science & Humanities  Selected e-Book Collections

      Preventing Plagiarism

      Practicing good research skills means that last minute crush to get the paper finished doesn't have to be so stressful.  Learn some great tips at the UC San Diego Librairies tutorial, Preventing Plagiarism: Keepin' it Real.

      Pick up some great tips from the brochure, "How to Avoid Plagiarism".