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The Otago LibGuides are changing! The system will undergo a major update from 17 June to 15 July. You can learn more by taking a look at our LibGuides prototype here.

Psychology: Books

Selected Psychology textbooks to get you started

Ebook collections

Reference resources

These resources are reliable sources of definitions, and contain information to help you get started with an unfamiliar topic.

Finding books in the library

The University Library uses a classification system called Library of Congress (LC).

A call number can be found on the spines (or the front cover), of all the books, and they are shelved in classification sequence. You might be familiar with the Dewey Decimal System of classification, which is used in school and public libraries.

To find many Psychology books in the open stacks, the call number range you can browse is:

BF1 – BF900

However, some books might be in other sections, of the Central Library e.g.

GN for Cultural Psychology

HM for Social Psychology

P for Language Development

WM for Abnormal Psychology etc.

You might also be required to use the other campus libraries to get the books you need, e.g. the Health Sciences Library, the Science Library, the Education Library (Robertson), or the Law Library.

To help find books, use the library catalogue ‘Library Search | Ketu’, and check out this short video: How to find a book on the library shelves.

Use Library Search | Ketu to access all material that the library has purchased or subscribes to, including:

  • Print material (e.g. books, journals, magazines & newspapers)
  • Electronic resources (e.g. Ebooks, conference papers, Ejournals & journal articles)
  • AV material (e.g. documentaries & music)
  • Local theses and other local research deposited in ‘Our Archive’ repository

Scroll to the bottom of the search results to link through to make an interloan request if we don’t hold something you want.

Interloan button image

Take advantage of the features including; filtering to material type, and use the ‘advanced search’ option to narrow your results.

Check out this short introductory video: Using Library Search | Ketu

Refer to this: Online guide about using Library Search | Ketu for more detailed information.

Because Library Search | Ketu is a vast database, use the filters that are listed down the left hand side of the search screen to help narrow your results. You can ‘tweak’ your results in the following ways:

  • Availability – e.g. refine by something being available online, or available in the library
  • Type – e.g. narrow your search to journal articles, books, Ebooks, theses, etc.
  • Date - tweak the date range that items are available, if you want research from a specific time frame
  • Library – refine by which Library the resource is located
  • Subject – include or exclude particular subjects
  • Journal Title – refine your results by looking just at one particular periodical

If you are finding that you are getting too many results, or results that are not relevant, click into the record of a result that you know is useful (e.g. a book that is on Reserve for your course), and take a closer look at the information about this resource.

Look at the ‘Details’ section of the record.

Take particular note of the ‘Subjects’ section.

This section uses ‘Subject Headings’ which are an example of ‘controlled vocabulary’. Controlled vocabulary is standardised language that is used to organise information, and is a way to both retrieve library records, and to link library records that are on same topic.

Either click on the 'Subject Headings' to find related records, or use this language in your subsequent searches for better results.

Library Search details section

The ‘Description’ section of a library record can also give you ideas for keywords to use in your searches.

Sometimes the description is a list of chapter titles, sometimes it is more detailed and informative; either way the language used might give you some ideas for how to conduct a more effective search.

Reserve Collections provide access to high demand items, such as textbooks and recommended readings. Every Library has its own Reserve Collection. Items in the Reserve Collection are used in the Library for 2 or 3 hours at a time.

To search for items on Course Reserve:

  • Go to the Library homepage
  • Enter your course code in the search box in the middle of the screen (Library Search | Ketu aka the library catalogue), e.g. PSYC112
  • Click Search
  • Or use the 'Reserve' search feature on the library homepage

Using a course code to search reserve

If the item on Reserve for your course is in:

  • Hardcopy format (e.g. a book), click on the item's record to see which Library holds it and what its call number is (call number = the code on the spine of the book that is used to locate it on the shelf).
  • Electronic format (i.e. online), click 'View details' to link to the item.

At the Central Library, the Reserve Collection is located on the ground floor, across from the main library entrance.

Watch this video: to learn more about Course Reserve and how to use it, and/or check out the library website.

For information about borrowing books, take a look at this library webpage.

It will help answer any question you might have about:

  • Using the self-check machines
  • Renewing books
  • Requesting books, book chapter and article scans
  • Interloans
  • Recalls
  • Borrowing entitlements
  • Library fine rates

And, click here for information about paying library fines.

Library staff are more than happy to assist you with any queries you might have about any of this information.

Check out our library help page for more information on getting help, library FAQs, and a link to chat with a staff member.

Please know that there are no silly or stupid questions, and that we are here to support you to use the library.

Open Textbook Collections

Books - Frequently Asked Questions

Most of the time, the library doesn't provide access to an Ebook because the publisher of the book has not made a multi-user licence available.

Any individual can purchase (or rent) a copy of an Ebook that they can use themselves. When a library purchases (or rents) an Ebook, we have to purchase it on a licence that allows more than one person to use the Ebook. Sometimes publishers do not make these licences available. If that is the case, the best option for the library is to purchase a print copy so that we can all access the book.

Sometimes, only a few people are able to access an Ebook at any one time. In this case, you might just have to try accessing it again later.

Other times, each individual can only have access to a limited amount of the book at any one time (for example, you can only download a limited amount of chapters before you reach the copyright limit), and/or for only a short period of time (for example a day or a week). In these cases, you also might have to wait and try to access it again in a day or two.

And sometimes, we might have an Ebook listed on the catalogue in anticipation of someone wanting to access it, but we haven’t actually purchased it yet. In this situation, you just have to request access, and that will normally be approved quite rapidly.

In all cases, if you are having trouble accessing an Ebook, contact either the Eresources team (you can ‘report an issue’ via Library Search | Ketu or email them) or contact your Subject Librarian.

You can request an interloan of any book we don’t hold. For instructions on how to do this, check out the interloans webpage. This is a free service, unless we need to go beyond NZ or Australia to find the book. We will check with you of that is the case. You can also request a scan of a book chapter that we don’t hold, for free, using the same request method.

For information on requesting books from Storage check out this Library FAQ entry. You might find the Library FAQ helpful for other questions you have about using the library.

You can request the book and it will be recalled off the current borrower. Click here for information about how to do this.

The current borrower will immediately receive an email telling them that they have to return the book in one week. You will receive an email notification when the book has been returned from the current borrower, and waiting for you to pick it up on the hold shelf.

You can request a scan of a book chapter, or an article if the library only holds the journal in print.

Click here to watch a video about how to make a scan request.