The Carl Gellert and Celia Berta Gellert Library

How to …

find books in the library?

Search@NDNU: You can search for books owned by the Gellert Library using our new Search@NDNU search box from the library homepage.

Searching the catalog:

  • Enter the title, or author’s name or a subject into the search box.
  • On the search results page, click on Availability to see if the Gellert Library owns the book and if it is available.

Locating the book in the library:

  • Check the Status of the item in the record to see if the book is available for check-out.
  • Jot down the Call Number, which tells you the location of your book in the library, and then head for the shelves!

eBooks: The library also subscribes to more than 200,000 ebooks. You can find ebooks by going to ebrary.

choose a topic?

Choosing an interesting research topic is your first challenge. While there are no set rules, the following tips may help:

  • Review the guidelines on topic selection outlined in your assignment.
  • Refer to lecture notes and required texts to refresh your knowledge of the course and assignment.
  • Think about related ideas and read background information first. This will help you identify the topic of your interest as well limit the scope of the topic.
  • Good research papers begins with a few questions. Think about what the major questions are for this topic. Is there a debate about the topic?  Are there a range of issues and viewpoints to consider?
  • Identify the information resources that relate directly to your topic.
  • While doing your research, always keep in mind the required length of the paper and the amount of time you have to complete it.

find scholarly articles?

While we recommend starting your search using Search@NDNU from the library’s website that searches all of our library’s collection, you may need to consult Article Databases for in-depth and comprehensive research.

Article databases can be accessed from Databases by Subject page. In addition to several general databases that cover many topics, the library’s Subject Guides include suggestions for recommended databases according to specific subject areas.

Below are a few tips that will help you identify and locate scholarly articles for your research assignments.

What are “Scholarly Articles”?
Scholarly articles report on the original research or thought of the authors. An exception is the review article, which evaluates published research on a particular topic.

In both cases, authors are experts in their field, usually with advanced degrees and affiliations to universities, corporations, or institutes. The article itself must pass a review process in which qualified experts comment anonymously (hence the terms “peer reviewed” or “refereed”).

Article Structure
Scholarly articles are often highly structured and divided into sections. Esp. science and social sciences articles include abstract, introduction, literature review, materials and methodology, results and conclusions.

Numerous Citations
Scholarly articles will have footnotes or in-text citations as well as lists of references at the end of the article.

Complex Content
Scholarly articles are written for researchers in the author’s field, so they may contain specialized vocabulary. They may also be quite long: a 30-page article is not uncommon.

distinguish between scholarly and popular articles?

Peer-reviewed/scholarly journals publish original research and criticism with the purpose of contributing to the academic research in that field. Popular magazines and newspapers will often report on current events and happenings with the purpose of entertaining and informing the public. More details below:

AuthorUsually a journalist or a freelance expert in the field, affiliated with a university or research institution – usually multiple authors
Length of Articleanywhere from half a page to 2 – 3 pageslonger with more detailed content – anywhere from 4 – 20 pages
Intended Audiencethe general publicother researchers, students, or experts in the field
Vocabularywritten at a level that can be understood by the general publicspecialized terminology that requires a background in the discipline to understand the text
Imagesphotographs or information graphics (infographics)Charts, graphs, or tables that show the use of data from experiments or studies

distinguish between primary and secondary sources?

Primary sources are original, first-hand records of factual investigation, artistic creation, or personal experience. Reports of scientific experiments, artistic works such as movies, paintings, and novels, visual and personal records such as photographs, eyewitness reports, letters, memoirs, and legal documents are examples of primary sources.

Secondary sources are commentaries, overviews or summaries of the content found in primary sources. Interpretation and appreciation of literature, summary or commentary on research, historical and biographical writings based on factual events and primary sources are examples of secondary sources.

Where They Are Found

  • The easiest way to find a scholarly article on a particular topic is to use one of our online databases. Our Databases by Subject guide will help you identify databases relevant to your research.
  • As you find articles for your research, you can email them to yourself either individually or in a folder. Many of our databases will format the citation of your article in the format you are using for your paper, such as APA or MLA.
  • You can access the databases from the Gellert Library website whether on or off campus. If an electronic full text version of the article is unavailable, please contact the library at 650-508-3444 or

do advanced searching?

Boolean operators

Using Boolean operators in your search will enable you to quickly retrieve relevant information from the thousands of records in a database. Boolean operators allow you to focus a search, particularly when your topic contains multiple search terms, as well as connect various pieces of information.

Use AND to narrow your search result by telling the database that all search terms must be present in the resulting records. For example, cloning AND humans AND ethics

The purple triangle in the middle of the Venn diagram above represents the result set for this search. It is a small set of resources, wherein all three specific topics are covered within each of the resources presented.

Use OR to broaden your search by telling the database that any of your search terms can be present in the resulting records. Using OR is an effective way to search for concepts referred to by different words or phrases. For example, cloning OR genetics OR reproduction

All three circles represent the result set for this search. It is a large set that includes resources covering each of three topics not necessarily within the same resource.

Use NOT to narrow your search telling the database to ignore concepts that may be implied by your search terms. For example, cloning NOT sheep

The blue circle will represent the result set for this search, excluding all resources that discuss sheep.

Databases interpret phrases in search terms differently. Some assume that words typed next to each other should be searched as phrases. Others automatically put a Boolean AND between your search terms, requiring that all the words be present, but not necessarily adjacent to each other. These searches can retrieve very different results.

Using parentheses or quotes around search words is a common way to do phrase searching, but not all databases or search engines use them. For example: search for “genetic engineering” will yield only those results where the two words genetic and engineering appear right next to each other.

Proximity operators also help narrow your search by specifying how closely words in the search terms should appear.

w# = with

  • With specifies that words appear in the order you type them in.
  • Substitute the # with a number of words that may appear in between. If no number is given, then it specifies an exact phrase.
  • Examples:
  • genetic w engineering (searches the phrase genetic engineering)
  • Hillary w2 Clinton (retrieves Hillary Clinton, Hillary Rodham Clinton, etc.)

n# = near

  • Near specifies that the words may appear in any order.
  • Substitute the # with a number of words that may appear in between.
  • Examples:
  • cloning n3 human (retrieves cloning of humans, human cloning etc.)

broaden your search?

Truncation, also called stemming, is a technique that broadens your search to include various word endings and spellings.

To use truncation, enter the root of a word and put the truncation symbol at the end. Truncation symbols may vary by database; common symbols include: *, !, ?, or #. The database will return results that include any ending of that root word.

For examples, child* will include search results for child, child’s, children, childhood.

evaluate websites?

The Web is a valuable information source, but for the purposes of academic research, you must select reliable websites. Here are a few questions that can help you determine the reliability of a website and its appropriateness for your research.

  • What is the domain of the website?

Typically, content on domains with “.edu,” “.org” or “.gov” are from more legitimate sources than content from “.com.”

  • What is the purpose of the information?

Make sure the website doesn’t promote a product or an ideology or present an organization bias.

  • Who is the author, publisher, or source? Are they an authority on the subject?

Ask yourself not only “who wrote this?” but “why should I care what s/he writes?” Look for the author’s identity and also any information about their educational background, professional credentials, etc. This information can often be found under an “About Us” link.

  • Does the information relate to your topic? (relevance)

Make sure that the web pages are relevant to your research and contain information that is thorough and substantially covers your subject matter.

  • How current is the information?

Look for the date of publication to ensure that information presented is up-to-date, esp. if currency of information is crucial to your research/academic field.

  • How accurate/truthful is the content?

Compare the web page to related sources, electronic or print, for assistance in determining its accuracy. Look for factual information (historical or statistical), research/fieldwork observations, as well as citations/footnotes and list of references/bibliography.

avoid plagiarism and cite successfully?

To avoid plagiarism, you must give credit by citing sources whenever you use

  • another person’s idea, opinion, or theory;
  • any facts, statistics, graphs, drawings—any pieces of information—that are not common knowledge;
  • quotations of another person’s actual spoken or written words; or
  • paraphrase of another person’s spoken or written words.

You don’t need to cite sources when the information you write about are common facts, your own original research, and/or your own opinions and evaluations.

Many standard styles exist for how to cite a document. These vary in relation to the needs of different communities of scholars. Those most commonly used at the undergraduate level are APA and MLA. Handbooks and guides on use these citation styles are available at the library. Here are quick guides to APA Citation Style and  MLA Citation Style.

Library Vision, Mission, and Collection


The Carl Gellert and Celia Berta Gellert Library is the center of intellectual inquiry and community engagement at Notre Dame de Namur University. The Gellert Library inspires reflection and innovation by supporting the diverse information needs of our users and furthers the goals of the University to promote a just, ethical, and diverse society.


The Gellert Library upholds the core values of Notre Dame de Namur University and serves its students and community by:

• Providing reliable and guided access to diverse information resources and technologies that reflect the campus’ current and future academic programs
• Encouraging the community to use information creatively, critically, and ethically by integrating our services into the instructional and planning activities of the University
• Designing an inclusive and dynamic space that offers a range of learning environments conducive to research and collaboration


The Carl and Celia Berta Gellert Library collection consists of books, periodicals, sound recordings, videos, a number of current newspapers and an extensive reference book collection. The library’s online catalog serves as the main access point to the collections.

The library owns about 120,000 books and subscribes to top journal titles that support academic majors offered at NDNU. Moreover, the library provides access to more than 200,000 ebooks, thousands of full-text journals, and 1500 streaming videos through the library’s online databases.

Services for Students

Seek research assistance
Reference librarians can help you find information you need for your papers and projects and show you how to use library resources and tools. Librarians can help you in person at the reference desk, via phone (650-508-3444) , e-mail, and through scheduled appointments. You may directly contact a librarian based on their subject liaison. For more information, visit Library Staff page
Schedule Research and Technology Workshops
Groups of three or more students interested in receiving instruction on specific databases, research strategies, or technology can request a workshop by filling out Library Workshop Request Form. To view workshop descriptions, visit Library Workshops.

Request Interlibrary Loan

NDNU faculty, staff, and students can request books and photocopies of journal articles from other libraries. Requests can be made by submitting an interlibrary loan request form or by contacting the library at 650-508-3748 or

More Information: Interlibrary Loan

Copy, print, and scan
NDNU faculty, staff, and students may print directly from the computers in the library. The library provides self service printer and print/copy/scan machines. Please refer to Fees and Fines section for amount and cost details.

Services for Faculty

Submit course reserves

Faculty members may request library materials or personal copies to be placed on Course Reserve for class assignments. The library will not place materials on reserve if the nature, scope, or extent of the material is beyond the reasonable limits of fair use. Reserve materials may be checked out at the circulation desk. They will stay on reserve for the current semester only.  At the end of the semester, materials are removed from reserve. Any personal materials removed from reserve will be returned to the instructor.

More Information: NDNU Faculty Handbook
(Part Vi, I. A.  Use of Copyrighted Material)

Course reserves request forms can be found here.

Schedule library instruction
Librarians at the Gellert Library work with faculty to create unique instruction sessions tailored to individual courses. Faculty members may schedule an information literacy instruction session by submitting an instruction session request form.

Request Interlibrary Loan

NDNU faculty, staff, and students can request books and photocopies of journal articles from other libraries. Requests can be made by submitting an interlibrary loan request form or by contacting the library at 650-508-3748 or

More Information: Interlibrary Loan

Suggest book purchase
The Gellert Library is committed to building collections that support and compliment the university’s academic programs. Faculty recommendations for books and periodicals are welcomed, but such requests can be considered only within the confines of the library’s current budget allocation and the library’s Collection Development Policy.

To make book purchase suggestions, faculty members may submit a Library New Item Form or contact the library at 650-508-3748 or

Wi-fi and media services
Wireless access to the Internet is available in the Gellert Library. Students are welcome to bring their laptops to the library. Chromebooks are also available for library use only and can be checked out at the circulation desk. You may use the computers in the library to watch DVDs or listen to CDs. Headphones for in-library use can be checked out at the circulation desk.
Borrowing and access privileges

NDNU students, faculty, alumni, and retired university employees are eligible for library privileges with their NDNU ID card. Access to the computers in the library requires user authentication.

Special borrowing permits are granted to San Mateo County Educators for the San Mateo Education Research Center items. Spouses/domestic partners of NDNU faculty and staff may request a library account.

Loan periods and database access privileges depend on the current status of the NDNU community member. See the chart below for more information.

StudentsFacultyStaffAlumniSM Educators
Books3 WeeksEnd of semesterEnd of semester3 Weeks3 Weeks (SMERC** items only)
Course ReservesIn-library use onlyIn-library use only*In-library use onlyIn-library use only
Print JournalsIn-library use onlyIn-library use only*In-library use onlyIn-library use onlyIn-library use only
ReferenceIn-library use onlyIn-library use only*In-library use onlyIn-library use onlyIn-library use only
Music Scores3 WeeksEnd of semesterEnd of semester3 Weeks
DVDs & CDsIn-library use only1 Week1 WeekIn-library use only
Interlibrary LoanVaries by institutionVaries by institutionVaries by institution
Access to Electronic ResourcesYesYesYesNoNo
HeadphonesIn-library use onlyIn-library use onlyIn-library use onlyIn-library use onlyIn-library use only
LaptopsIn-library use onlyIn-library use onlyIn-library use only
Camcorder2 Week2 Week2 Week
Tripod2 Week2 Week2 Week
  *Faculty may request an exemption. Please consult library staff. **San Mateo Education Research Center
Fees and Fines
Photocopying, Printing and Scanning
Photocopying10 cents per page
Printing 250 copies free per semester 6 cents for each additional print
ScanningFree (only available to NDNU email address)
Overdue and lost materials
Circulating25 cents per day after seven-day grace period
Reserve$1.00 per day
Interlibrary LoanVaries depending on lending institutions
LostReplacement cost based on current price of item, in addition to overdue fines

Collection Development Policy
Collection development is the continuous and systematic process by which libraries select, accept, deselect, and evaluate information resources. This collection development policy articulates the overarching framework that ensures the collections of The Carl Gellert and Celia Berta Gellert Library provide access to knowledge and information resources that meet the curricular, research, and intellectual needs of the Notre Dame de Namur University community.

For more information, please see the Collection Development Policy.

Use of Copyright Materials
The U.S. Copyright Law grants a set of exclusive rights to copyright owners to reproduce and market their works to the public for a limited amount of time. The law also includes exemptions to rights of the copyright owner, the most important being fair use. This exemption allows for the use of copyrighted works without permission from the copyright owner(s) for research and educational purposes. Notre Dame de Namur University respects and upholds the copyright law while adhering to its commitment to fulfill the needs of teaching and scholarship within the framework of the law.

For more guidance in using copyrighted materials for teaching at the Notre Dame de Namur University, please see the Copyright and Fair Use Guide.

Access and Services for Disabled Students
Some areas of the library are not accessible to disabled students. Please ask for assistance from any staff member or librarian. Every attempt will be made to assist in securing materials from inaccessible areas. The library is equipped with one adjustable desk for computer access by students in wheelchairs. A reading device is available for vision-impaired students. Other services for disabled students are available from the Academic Success Center.
Library Etiquette

Please set your cellular phone to vibrate or silent and minimize usage in the library.

Food and beverages are permitted in the library. Having food delivered to the library is not allowed. While enjoying your food and drink, please be considerate of others and the environment by:

  • avoiding bringing in foods with odors that can be considered offensive
  • using spill-proof containers
  • disposing of trash and cleaning up before you leave
  • reporting accidental spills that require cleanup

Smoking is prohibited in the library.

Noise should be kept at a reasonable level.

Students and visitors are expected to behave courteously toward the library’s staff. Public Safety officers will be called to handle disruptive users. The library staff cannot accommodate unattended children due to safety hazards in the building. If a child is left unattended in the library, Public Safety will be called.

Access Privileges for Community Members

Community members are welcome to use the resources of the library, but are not permitted to check out library items or use the library’s online databases. They may ask the library staff for assistance and information.

NDNU alumni are considered to be part of the NDNU community and may borrow library items and access online database on-campus only. Special borrowing permits are granted to San Mateo County Educators for the San Mateo Education Research Center items. Spouses/domestic partners of NDNU faculty and staff may request a library account.

Library Location and Maps


Library on campus map
















Library Floor Map

Library Floor Map












LC call number guidelines

Books in the Gellert Library are organized according to the Library of Congress (LC) classification system, using a combination of numbers and letters in a set order. The letters at the beginning of each call number indicate subject area. The main categories in LC are:

A General Works M Music & Books on Music
B Philosophy, Psychology, Religion N Fine Arts
C Auxiliary Sciences of History P Language & Literature
D History: General & Old World Q Science
E History: America R Medicine
F United States Local History S Agriculture
G Geography, Anthropology, Recreation T Technology
H Social Sciences U Military Science
J Political Science V Naval Science
L Education Z Library Science
K Law

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