Library Blog

Kendriya Vidyalaya Port Trust, Kochi

How to use an encyclopaedia

An encyclopaedia is an easy-to-use reference tool found in all libraries. An encyclopaedia may be one volume and have a very specific topic as its subject, or an encyclopaedia may have multiple volumes that cover a wide range of topics. Because encyclopaedias are so easy to use and so accessible, many people use them as their first choice for a reference tool.

1. Decide if you need a general encyclopaedia or a specialized one. Most general encyclopaedias are multivolume sets and follow a similar format.

2. Examine the directions for the specific encyclopaedia you are using. Most encyclopaedias are set up in alphabetical format, but not all are. Some encyclopaedias require that you know the key word or subject heading in order to find the correct information scattered throughout a variety of volumes. Other encyclopaedias devote different volumes to different subjects.

3. Locate the index. Depending on the encyclopaedia, the index is usually in the last series of volumes and is in alphabetical order. It gives you page numbers and volume numbers to locate the article you are researching.

4. Read the article. As you do research, you can find other cross-references that can broaden your topic and provide new insight into your research. Also, pay attention to maps, graphs and pictures in the article.

5. Study the outline provided for longer articles. This is a helpful reference tool when organizing your writing.

6. Cite authors correctly. Each encyclopaedia has different methods of listing authors. This information is either in the introductory material or in the index.
[From http://www.ehow.com/ ]

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A Simplified Classification Of Books

Most students are not well aware about the types of books kept in a standard school library. Here I am providing a brief introduction to the different types of books and what to find in them.

Traditionally, the information sources in a library are classified into:

– Documentary sources

– Non-documentary sources

Documentary sources are the reading materials in different formats, and non-documentary sources are the many formal and informal channels through which information flows (universities, personal contacts). Here I am concentrating on the documentary sources. On the basis of the nature of information, these are divided into:

– Primary

– Secondary

– Tertiary

But for simplification, let me make a classification on the basis of reading materials usually found in a KV library.

Reading materials in a school library can be broadly categorized into:

– Books

– Periodicals

The difference between the two is that the latter has a periodicity and contains relatively current information. Eg. Education today (Monthly), Employment News (Weekly), Sangam (Quarterly), etc.

Books can be further classified into:

– Textbooks

– Monographs

– Reference books

Textbooks contain information that has been tested and reviewed by experts in the field. They are meant for readers who want to acquire a deeper knowledge on a subject. Eg. NCERT prescribed textbooks, grammar books, essay books, etc.

Monographs are, more often than not, a single unit containing information on a single subject, or one or two related subjects. Monographs usually have a single author who follows a uniform train of thoughts throughout the book. Eg. books related to a specific topic like ornithology, books of fiction, biographies, etc.

Reference books can be

– Dictionaries

– Encyclopaedias

– Yearbooks

– Atlases

– Directories

Everybody is familiar about general dictionaries. But there are subject dictionaries also – dictionaries listing the words related to a specific subject like physics. In a library you can find biographical dictionaries (Eg. who’s who), geographical dictionaries. Also, there are thesaurus (dictionaries giving synonyms and antonyms) dictionaries dealing with phrases, etc.

Like dictionaries, encyclopaedias can be either general, or related to a specific subject, place, person or time.

Yearbooks can be classified as periodicals, since they have a periodicity (Yearly). But they contain a lot of information on a variety of subjects. They chiefly deal with events that have taken place in a specific period, usually a year. Eg. Manorama Yearbook.

Atlases deal with maps. But they also contain a lot of statistical information of a geographical or economic nature.

Directories are lists, like Directory of Universities in India.

All the above reference books are nowadays available in the CD-ROM format also, which helps in the easy and quick location of specific information. But for getting extensive information on a subject, it is usually wise to depend on a hard copy.

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Library FAQs

1. Am I a member of the library?
Yes, if you are a student, teacher, or other staff of the Vidyalaya, you already have a membership in the library.

2. Can I issue books?
You can if you are a student of Classes VI-XII you can issue books and take home to read.

3. When can I issue books from the library?
The library functions on all working days from 8.30am to 2.40pm. You can issue books during library periods. You can issue books during other periods too if it is urgent and you have obtained permission from the teacher. Fiction books are issued only during library periods.

4. How many books can I issue?
01 book for students of Classes VI-IX and 02 books for students of Classes X-XII.

5. How long can I keep a book with me?
01 week. If you need the book even after that you can re-issue it. A book can be re-issued twice at the maximum.

6. How do I search the catalogue of the library?
You can search the catalogue (OPAC – Online Public Access Catalogue) both offline and online. Enter the search term(s) of your choice and the OPAC will display the related books. It is better to keep your search expression limited to two terms. Make sure that you spell right. You can combine terms using AND and NOT to broaden and narrow your search. Don’t hesitate to take the help of the librarian if you face any difficulty.

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Book Highlight



Told in diary form by an irresistible heroine, this playful and perceptive novel from the New York Times bestselling author of the May Bird trilogy sparkles with science, myth, magic, and the strange beauty of the everyday marvels we sometimes forget to notice.

Spirited, restless Gracie Lockwood has lived in Cliffden, Maine, her whole life. She’s a typical girl in an atypical world: one where sasquatches helped to win the Civil War, where dragons glide over Route 1 on their way south for the winter (sometimes burning down a T.J. Maxx or an Applebee’s along the way), where giants hide in caves near LA and mermaids hunt along the beaches, and where Dark Clouds come for people when they die.

To Gracie it’s all pretty ho-hum…until a Cloud comes looking for her little brother Sam, turning her small-town life upside down. Determined to protect Sam against all odds, her parents pack the family into a used Winnebago and set out on an epic search for a safe place that most people say doesn’t exist: The Extraordinary World. It’s rumored to lie at the ends of the earth, and no one has ever made it there and lived to tell the tale. To reach it, the Lockwoods will have to learn to believe in each other—and to trust that the world holds more possibilities than they’ve ever imagined.

Book info & cover courtesy: goodreads.com