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Chemistry: Use a Variety of Catalogs to Locate Books!

Getting Started with Books

Online library catalogs such as SAILS enable us to locate and request print books from southeastern MA regional libraries. The Commonwealth Catalog allows us to borrow materials from other libraries across the state! Students may request books from any SAILS Library with a current BCC Campus Card, registered and activated at one of the campus libraries. BCC students also have access to thousands of electronic books through our eBook collections, described below.

How do I locate a book on the shelf at BCC Libraries?

BCC Libraries shelve books according to the Library of Congress Classification System.  Titles for Chemistry can be found under some of the headings listed below.  The number ranges represent facets of this topic. Browsing the collections of a library can be very productive; often revealing sources as good as - if not better - than what you might find by searching the catalog!  If you need help finding your way around the library 'stacks,' ask any library staff member.

QD1-999 Chemistry
QD1-65 General - including alchemy
QD71-142 Analytical chemistry
QD146-197 Inorganic chemistry
QD241-441 Organic chemistry
QD415-436 Biochemistry
QD450-801 Physical and theoretical chemistry
QD625-655 Radiation  chemistry
QD701-731 Photochemistry
QD901-999 Crystallography


What is "Controlled Vocabulary" and why should I care?

Controlled vocabulary is a standardized, specifically-chosen set of words or phrases used by a database to describe and categorize books, articles or other sources of information based on its content. Controlled vocabulary can also be referred to as Subjects, Subject Headings, Subject Terms, Descriptors, or Thesaurus. The table below outlines the difference between using a Controlled Vocabulary vs. general Keywords:

Controlled Vocabulary




Pre-defined, higher order terminology


Natural (conversational) language


Only searches the subject (or descriptor) field in a database record


Searches all the fields in a database record including title, abstract, text, etc.


Results usually relevant to your topic


Results may or may not be relevant to your topic


Narrows your search, providing fewer but more precise results


Broadens your search, providing more - but potentially less precise - results


Less flexible - searches only available, pre-defined subject headings


More flexible - searches newer or distinctive terms and acronyms with no defined subject heading








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Get started with the SAILS Catalog

Add keywords strategically to target your results

Before you go searching the library catalog for books on chemistry, take a minute to think about what you want to do with the information. For example, if you:

  • Want some extra practice in solving calculations for chemistry, try adding the keywords "problems exercises" to your keyword.

Example: chemistry problems exercises

  • Need to write a biographical essay, try adding the term "biography."

Example: chemists biography

  • Can't tell a polymer from a periodic table, you need a specialized dictionary! Try adding the term "dictionaries."

Example: chemistry dictionaries



Browse BCC's growing electronic book collections!

Find books from other libraries

Interlibrary Loan

Books not available through the BCC Libraries can be obtained through Interlibrary Loan (ILL) , a service free of charge to all current BCC students, faculty, and staff!