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Modern Languages Research Guide

Books & Catalog


To develop your reading skills, practice helps! CSUSM offers general literature for reading in a variety of languages. Also, the materials held in the Language Learning Center are listed in the library catalog to show the great resources available there.

Books at Cal State San Marcos

Here are several strategies for successful searching in the Library Catalog:

Keyword search

In the simple search screen, type your topic in the KEYWORD search and use the Modify Search function to restrict the search once you have the list of results. The Modify Search button allows you to choose from the language options and brings back texts and movies in both English (translated from the language requested) and materials published in the language.

Other options to locate books and videos:

Circuit (1-3 day delivery)
Search the collections of other San Diego area libraries -- about 3,000,000 books. Find and request books directly online; pick them up at our Library in 1-3 days.

WorldCat (5-10 day delivery)
Search the collections of libraries world-wide -- about 52,000,000 books. Find a book in this database, and fill-out an Interlibrary Loan delivery request. Book will be delivered to Library for pickup.

Browse the Book Stacks
Sometimes, just looking through the shelves can turn up works you would not have considered otherwise. Using the Library of Congress subject system, languages are shelved in the P call number area. The Library of Congress provides a list of the subclasses in the P area so you can see how this is organized.

Useful Subject Terms

Library catalogs use specific subject headings to group related books together. This is different from the genre search discussed above in that genre headings address the specific format and writing style, but subject headings identify the topic of the work.

Finding a Person in the Catalog

What type of search depends on whether you are looking for works BY or works ABOUT the person.

Looking for works by a specific author? Use the AUTHOR search option and type the name in lastname, firstname order. Be sure to spell correctly! A search on Borges, Jorge Luis as author brings back 64 works that he wrote in the CSUSM collection. A similar search through CIRCUIT will return even more.

Looking for works about an author? Borges, Jorge Luis as a SUBJECT search brings back 21 different subject headings, some of which have a number of works attached (23 titles have the subject heading 'criticism and interpretation'.) Notice the lastname, firstname order!