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SPARK: Books

A resource for students wanting to improve their academic and research skills.


The university library owns or provides access to academic books written by scholars, works of fiction such as novels or plays, biographies and a small number of university textbooks.

Works of non-fiction may be single-authored or edited. A single-authored book generally has a sustained, lengthy argument about a topic. The chapters generally build an argument chapter by chapter.  An edited book has many or several authors analyzing a topic from related but slightly different perspectives. Each essay in an edited book can be read on its own.  For a variety of reasons, you may need to consult books while doing research.

General reasons:

  • reading an extended argument about a topic (single-authored works particularly)
  • conducting research on a topic of broad scope
  • getting context and background
  • using the footnotes, endnotes, or bibliography to find additional resources

Discipline-specific reasons:

  • in certain disciplines, like history and philosophy, scholars often prefer to publish their findings in books

How to Use a Book

Watch this short video on how to review the various sections of a book and how to quickly navigate them and gain useful ideas and information. The strategies demonstrated can be used not only for printed books but also for the many electronic books the library provides.