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Research Tutorials

Library Tutorial on Searching for a Book using the ISBN

This tutorial covers how to determine if a book you have found while performing a Google, Google Scholar, or Amazon search is available through the Holy Names University library.

This tutorial covers:

  • Copy/Paste ISBN info
  • Search for edition/format variations
  • locating the full-text PDF to download eBooks onto your device

We also cover what to do when the HNU Library does not have access to the book you want.

Does the HNU Library have the Specific Book I need?

What is an ISBN?

The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a numeric commercial book identifier that is intended to be unique to the specific edition and format of a published work. An ISBN is assigned to each separate variation of a publication. For example, an eBook, a paperback and a hardcover edition of the same book will each have a different ISBN.

Performing a library catalog search using the ISBN will enable you to search for the book in the specific edition (ex. publication date) and format (ex. paperback) you want to access. 



Identify the ISBN-10 / ISBN-13 information for the specific edition and format for your book

Example of how to find the ISBN number on a book website



Go to the library homepage, click on the "Books" tab and enter the ISBN code to perform a catalog search

Search by ISBN from HNU Library catalog



If the HNU Library has a copy of your book, you will see information about how to access it either on the library shelves (print, hardcover format) or by clicking on the "View eBook" link (ebook format).

Spotting ebook vs physical book from HNU Library catalog

But, if the HNU Library does not have a copy of your book, you will instead see "Held by other libraries worldwide" indicating that you will need to make an Inter-Library Loan (ILL) request.




To request a copy of your book from another library, click on the title of your book from the Search Results page.

You can place an Inter-Library Loan (ILL) request using the "Request Item from Libraries Worldwide" button.

ILL Request Button in library catalog