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Law Library Guide: Finding books

This guide will help you understand and develop the skills necessary to conduct Legal Research

UCT Library Catalogue: Aleph


The Aleph catalogue contains UCT's collection of books and materials. You can either locate a specific book or search for books around specific topics.

To open Aleph - you can click on the 'Catalogue (Aleph)' link under 'Search and find' or use the link in the grey menu bar on the home page.


A new tab will open and the Basic Search box will appear:

Use this helpful step-by-step video to assist you:

Searching by topic

You can search by topic just using the basic search and the boolean operators AND, OR, NOT.

AND = makes sure the search words either side of it are both included in the results

OR = makes sure either one of the search words are included in the results

NOT = makes sure that the word following the operator is not included in the results

In the 'type word or phrase' box, type your search terms. Let's look for books on sustainable development and environmental law. Our search phrase will then be "sustainable development" AND "environmental law". You can now just click search and it will bring up a list of results.

Scroll through your list of results - to see more details about an item click on the name of the location under "Copies" (the last column).

This will show all the details of the item - including whether or not the book is on loan, which branch it is in, and the location of it (shelf number). All the Law Library books start with a DH.

 

Searching for a specific book

To locate a specific book you can use either the Basic Search or the Multifield Search.

When using the Basic Search type in the name of the title of the book in the search box. Change the 'Field to search' box from 'all fields' to 'title'. Change the 'words adjacent?' to 'yes' and click search. For example, let's look for 'Principles of Criminal Law' by Jonathan Burchell.

In your results list - locate the book you want and click on the location under 'Copies' and a new screen will open showing all the details of the book - including whether or not the book is on loan, which branch it is in, and the location of it (shelf number).

Using the Multifield Search allows you to search using different fields such as author, title and year. Again looking for 'Principles of Criminal Law' by Jonathan Burchell published in 2013. Typing the appropriate information in the right boxes will allow you to have an extremely refined search results, in this case opening up directly to the catalogue record, containing all the details of the book (including the shelf number).

 

Searching for a specific author

You can search for all the works by a specific author using the Basic Search and changing the 'Fields to search' box to 'author'. In this case, looking for all the works by Jonathan Burchell, we can search for 'Burchell'.

With the search results coming up - all works by somebody with the surname 'Burchell' will be displayed, including those where the editor or translator was Burchell.

To display the item, click on the location under 'Copies' and the record containing all the details will open.

These details will assist you in finding the book on the shelf - so make sure you note down the shelf number.

Finding the books in the Law Library

All Law Library materials' shelf numbers start with 'DH'. When noting the details of a book, there are different locations that it could be within the Law Library:

'Law Library Reserve' means that it is located in the short loans section. In order to retrieve this item, go to the circulation desk and ask for the book. These items can only be taken out for use within the Library for 3 hours at a time.

'Open Shelves' means that it is located on the shelves on the first floor (lower floor) of the Law Library. These items can be taken out of the Library at the circulation desk.

'Reference Collection' means it is located on the second floor (upper floor) of the Law Library within the Law Library Reference Collection. These items cannot be taken out of the Law Library and are for use only in the Library.

All the Journals are also located on the first floor (lower floor) of the Law Library.