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Research Process

Get help with any part of the research process.

Dewey Decimal System

Books and videos in Helena College Library are arranged by subject using the Dewey Decimal System. This system ensures that books on the same topic are together on the shelf. As a result, once you locate one book on your topic, you should be able to find others by browsing nearby items on the shelf.

This system organizes all information into ten broad categories and assigns each a hundreds digit from 000 to 900. These categories are then broken down into more and more specific topics, which are assigned specific numbers in the tens and ones places, and finally decimal numbers that convey the smallest details of topics.

 For example:

 700 The Arts

 730 Sculpture

 738 Pottery

 738.38 Pottery of Ancient Greece

Call numbers listed in the library catalog and printed on the spine labels of library books are like addresses for specific books in the library. Call numbers are made up of a Dewey number that indicates the topic of the book, a “cutter number” that is the first three letters of the author's name or first three letters of the book title, and sometimes a date of publication.

Basic Dewey subject areas:

000 Computer Science, Information & General Works
100 Philosophy & Pyschology
200 Religion
300 Social Sciences
400 Language
500 Science
600 Technology
700 Arts & Recreation
800 Literature
900 History & Geography

The Helena College Library shares its collections with 17 other academic libraries in Montana, which means you have access to a lot of books.

Find Books in the Library

You can use OneSearch to find books, DVDs, and audiobooks at Helena College or other Montana academic libraries (TRAILS).

TRAILS - Montana Academic Libraries

At the top of the search box, you can choose to search all Montana academic libraries. If you find a book or DVD you want, you can sign in with your NetID to request any item to be sent to Helena College for you to pick up.  

Helena College

On the right side of the screen are different options for narrowing down your results. Click "Available at Helena College Library" to find all print books and DVDs in our library. 


You will also find ebooks in OneSearch. Why use ebooks?

  • Access the book from anywhere with an internet connection
  • No due dates
  • Search the full text for keywords and phrases
  • Download or print only the parts you need 

To find ebooks in OneSearch, narrow to Resource Types: Books and Electronic books and choose Availability: Available Online (Use the checkboxes next to each category to select all three at once).

Screen shot of OneSearch filters showing checked boxes next to Available Online, Books, and Electronic Books

Try a few while you're searching or visit the eBook Guide to learn more about our e-book collection.


Interlibrary Loan

If you come across a book, article or video you need for your research, and the library does not own it, request it through our Interlibrary Loan (ILL). We'll borrow the book from another library and make it available for you to check out!

Allow about two weeks for an ILL request to arrive.

Search Google Books

Find many copyright-free books online and preview full chapters of current books through Google Books search. 

Note: Google Books' Preview does not mean you can read the entire book.  This is a great place to see if you want a specific book and to get started on your research.  You can request the library borrow a copy of a book that we don't have by filing out an Interlibrary Loan Request.

Google Book Search