Skip to Main Content

Extended Essay: Find Books

A guide to the research and writing process required for students completing the IB Extended Essay.

Finding Books

Here are some places to look for books on your research topic:

West Sound Academy Library Catalog
Reference eBook databases
Local public libraries
Digital libraries
Google Books

Also:  learn how you can use an Interlibrary Loan to get a book or article you need that's not owned by your local library.

If you find a book which is really useful, have a look at its bibliography.  The bibliography can provide a wealth of leads to further sources of useful, relevant information on your topic.


What is WorldCat?

WorldCat represents a “collective collection” of the world’s libraries. lets you search the collections of libraries in your community and thousands more around the world.

What's in WorldCat?

When you search in WorldCat you'll find all of the physical items you're used to getting from libraries - books, music CDs and videos—and new kinds of digital content, such as downloadable audiobooks. You may also find article citations with links to their full text; authoritative research materials, such as documents and photos of local or historic significance; and digital versions of rare items that aren't available to the public. WorldCat libraries serve diverse communities in dozens of countries, so resources are available in many languages.

On May 4, 2013, the University of Alberta Libraries created the 2,000,000,000th holding record in WorldCat, marking a major milestone for this unique library resource.

WorldCat Stats:  As of September, 2023, WorldCat has 3,357,676,790 holdings and 548,338,915 bibliographic records.  WorldCat gets a new record every second.  As of May, 2023, the percentage of non-English records is 61% and the number of languages and dialects represented is 490.

How Can WorldCat Help Me?

You can search many libraries at once for an item and then locate it in a library nearby.  A WorldCat record always lists which libraries hold any particular item, showing the libraries that are closest to you first.  

What If the 'Closest Library' Holding an Item Isn't My Public Library?

If you need a book or other item for your research that's held by a library other than your own public library, you can request an Interlibrary Loan.  

Search WorldCat here:

Interlibrary Loans

What is an Interlibrary Loan?

An Interlibrary loan (ILL) is a service where a patron (user) of one library can borrow books or receive photocopies of documents that are owned by another library. 

How do Interlibrary Loans work?

The patron makes a request with their local library.  This local library identifies the institution that owns the desired item (probably using WorldCat!), places the request, receive the item, makes it available for the patron to pick up at their closest branch, and arranges for the return.

How long can I keep an Interlibrary Loan?

The lending library determines the loan and renewal period for the item.  If you need an ILL item longer, you should contact your local library at least three business days before the due date and ask them to request an extension from the lending library.

Can anything be borrowed with an Interlibrary Loan?

Some libraries have items in reserve or reference collections that cannot be borrowed.  If the item you want is owned by a library that you could visit on your own (for example, at the University of Washington) you should plan for a research visit to look at the resources you need, take notes, and make photocopies.

How long does it take to get my Interlibrary Loan item?

Plan ahead!  If the lending institution agrees to loan the item you want to your local library, it could take three weeks or more before the item actually arrives at your local branch, ready for you to pick up.

How much does an Interlibrary Loan cost?

Good news!  An ILL is a free service provided to library patrons.  The only cost will be if the lending library charges your local library a processing fee for microfilm or copy requests.


See below for links to Interlibrary Loan request forms for regional libraries.

Google Books

Google Books is a database of published books that have been scanned by Google and made available in Google search results or from the Google Books site.

You can browse books online, and...if  the book is out of copyright, or the publisher has given Google permission, you'll be able to see a preview of the book, and in some cases the entire text. If it's in the public domain, you're free to download a PDF copy.

Google Books come from two sources:  the Library Project (scanned books from Harvard University Library, New York Public Library and other prominent libraries) and the Partner Program.  In the Partner Program, authors and publishers are able to use the Google Books site to gain wider audiences and recognition for their works.  

NOTE:  This cooperation in the Partner Program results in Google Books having some nonfiction titles from self-published authors that are less than credible sources for serious research.  Before using a book from Google Books in your research, check to see if it's held at any public or university libraries and if it has been reviewed in any of the major publishing or library journals.  If in doubt, check to see if the book is listed in WorldCat!

Google Book Search

Search the WSA Library Catalog

Find books, digital resources (ebooks), WebPath Express websites, and Open Educational Resources (OER).

Reference eBook Databases

Regional Libraries

Digital Libraries


West Sound Academy Library | PO Box 807 |16571 Creative Drive NE | Poulsbo, WA 98370 | 360-598-5954 | Contact the librarian