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Reference Books: Print & Online

Finding Information from a Reference

Reference materials are compilations; a "reference" connects a researcher to background information in a way that is intended to be found quickly when needed. Reference materials can be dictionaries, encyclopedias, bibliographies, handbooks and guides, catalogs, atlases and maps, directories, almanacs – even the internet.

Using OU Libraries' Catalog

Although the library guide you currently read is considered a reference material, the following lists are not comprehensive. Check the OU Libraries Discover catalog to connect to even more resources. Think about the keywords you would use to search the catalog; for general books containing definitions of terms or overviews of a subject, search for your keywords plus "encyclopedia" or "dictionary." Want reference assistance? Reach out to the STEM Services team at

Looking for a reference on citation style? Visit the Citations page of the guide.

Finding Books in the Library by Call Number

Books are located in Bizzell Memorial Library in the following call number locations.

Library of Congress Call Numbers for Physics & Astronomy:

Call Number Range Topic
QB Astronomy
QB1-139 General astronomy
QB140-237 Practical and spherical astronomy
QB 275-343 Geodesy
QB 349-421 Theoretical astronomy and celestial mechanics
QB 455-456 Astrogeology
QB 460-466 Astrophysics
QB 468-480 Non-optical methods of astronomy
QB 495-903 Descriptive astronomy
QB 500.5-785 Solar system
QB 799-903 Stars
QB 980-991 Cosmogony, Cosmology
QC Physics (for full detail, see LC classification outline)
QC 1-75 General physics
QC 170-197 Atomic physics
QC 221-246 Acoustics, Sound
QC 251-338.5 Heat
QC 310.15-219 Thermodynamics
QC 350-467 Optics, Light
QC 450-467 Spectroscopy
QC 501-721 Electricity
QC 750-766 Magnetism
QC 770-798 Nuclear and particle physics, Atomic energy, Radioactivity
QC 851-999 Meterology, Climatology

What's new about the catalog? See if the library has a copy of your class's textbook! 

Textbooks on Reserve and course reserve materials are now searchable by course code (ex. HIST 3403), course name (ex. Modern Israel), title (ex. Quiet Street), or author. Some materials are searchable by professor last name (ex. Seidelman). Students can search the catalog or the new Textbook Search Scope (located under the Search Scope drop-down menu).

Screenshot of OU Libraries catalog website, "Search Scope" dropdown menu showing textbooks

Substances and Property Information




Study Aids & Selected Books