Searching the Online Catalog
The Library of Congress Online Catalog contains approximately 18 million records representing books, serials, computer files, manuscripts, cartographic materials, music, sound recordings, and visual materials. It is the major tool used to identify books held by the Library in its general and special collections.
There are a number of ways to search the catalog in order to retrieve records for titles related to baseball. The major methods of searching the catalog are discussed by former Library of Congress librarian Thomas Mann in his guide Doing Research at the Library of Congress. Other information on how to search the online catalog is available through the Online Catalog Help Pages, along with the context-specific tips that appear at the bottom of each catalog search page.
The information below provides basic information on searching the online catalog by subject, the availability of full-text books in the catalog, and how to locate materials held by the Library of Congress in other libraries.
One of the best ways to locate relevant books on baseball-related topics is subject searching. If you are able to identify relevant Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH), which are topical headings assigned to Library materials by catalogers, you can search the online catalog using the headings to retrieve titles that have been assigned them. The following are examples of Library of Congress Subject Headings related to baseball. Click on any LCSH below to open either a page of results, or a listing of subject headings that begins with that heading.
• All-American Girls Professional Baseball League--History.
• Baseball cards
• Baseball cards--Prices--United States--Periodicals
• Baseball managers
• Baseball players
• Baseball players—United States
• Baseball players--United States—Statistics
• Baseball--Quotations, maxims, etc.
• Baseball--Records--United States
• Baseball--Songs and music
• Baseball—United States
• Baseball--United States--History
• Baseball--United States--Statistics
• Batting (Baseball)
• Fielding (Baseball)
• Home runs (Baseball)
• Little League baseball
• Major League Baseball (Organization)
• Major League Baseball (Organization)--Rules and practice
• Minor League Baseball
• National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum
• Negro leagues
• Pitchers (Baseball)--United States
• Spring training (Baseball)
• Women baseball players--United States
• World Series (Baseball)
• TEAM NAME (Baseball Team) – e.g., Philadelphia Phillies (Baseball Team)
• Under individual educational institutions, e.g. Arizona State University—Baseball
• Under individual names – e.g., Mantle, Mickey, 1931-1995
In addition to the methods for locating LCSH described by Thomas Mann, users who aren't sure what LCSH to search under can also browse for records that contain specific subject keywords. This method of searching is explained on the catalog's Search/Browse Help page.
Full-Text Books in the Library's Online Catalog
The Library rarely makes the full text of books available on its Web site. When it does, the books are usually older works (most published before 1923) in the public domain. Three baseball books listed in the online catalog and available online are:
Baseball A B C. New York: McLoughlin Bros., 1885. [catalog record; full text]
Hoyt, Waite. Babe Ruth as I Knew Him. New York, Dell Pub. Co., 1948. [catalog record; full text]
Pfeffer, N. Fred. Scientific Ball, by N. Fred Pfeffer. With a Biography of the Author by De Witt Ray. Chicago: N. F. Pfeffer, 1889. [catalog record; full text]
Many other public domain books and magazine articles about baseball can be found online through a number of resources, including the HathiTrust Digital Library, Google Books, and the Internet Archive.
Locating Library of Congress Materials at Other Libraries
Since Library books do not circulate to individuals outside the Library, researchers located offsite who want to access books they've identified through the Library of Congress Online Catalog should check with their local library to see if it holds the books. If it does not, a librarian there may be able to request the book through interlibrary loan (ILL) with a library that holds it. While the Library of Congress does have an ILL service, it should be used only as a source for material not available through local, state, or regional libraries.
Another resource researchers can use to locate libraries near them that hold a copy of a particular title is a database known as WorldCat. WorldCat functions as a collective catalog of thousands of libraries around the world. A subscription version of WorldCat is available at some public and many academic libraries, while a free version is available on the Web at http://www.worldcat.org. WorldCat's Advanced Search feature allows researchers to locate catalog records for books and other materials held by WorldCat member libraries. Each WorldCat record includes a field labeled Enter your location in which researchers can enter their zip code or other geographic information to return a list of libraries nearest them that should hold the title. The researchers (or a local librarian) can then contact that library or check its online catalog to confirm the work is held there.