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Biology (general)

A general guide for finding information sources about biology topics through the library and the web.

The library doesn't have the book I need. What can I do?

Even though the Mardigian Library has hundreds of thousands of books and e-books, we can't have everything. But, if you have time before your assignment is due, you can get books from other libraries by visiting other libraries, using U-M's catalog, and through MeLCat.

Visit other libraries

The Mardigian Library has agreements with several college and university libraries in the Detroit area. You can go to these libraries to check out books. If any of these libraries are convenient to you, you might get the book faster by visiting that library.
Note: See the sections on MeLCat Visiting Patron libraries, Reciprocal borrowing institutions, and InfoPass institutions on this page to see what you need before visiting another library (MCard, proof of current registration, Infopass, etc.). .

Search the UM-Ann Arbor and UM-Flint library catalog

You can have books from the UM-Ann Arbor and UM-Flint libraries sent to you at the Mardigian Library (usually in 2 to 4 days):

  1. Find a book in the UM-Ann Arbor/UM-Flint library catalog.
  2. Click on the "Get this" link.
  3. Click on the large blue "Log in to view request options" button.
  4. After logging in with your email login, click on "Pick it up at the library".
  5. Choose "UM-Dearborn Mardigian Library" from the drop-down Pickup location menu and click "Get me this item"

You will get an email letting you know when you can pick up the book from the Library Info Desk. 

Search the UM-Ann Arbor and UM-Flint library catalog - video tutorial (3:57)


The Michigan Electronic Library's catalog (MeLCat) includes materials from libraries throughout Michigan. You can request a book and it will be sent to the Mardigian Library for you to pick up. Most books are delivered in 3 to 5 days. You can either search MeLCat directly, or click on the link in the Mardigian Library catalog. For example, if you are looking for the book Monitoring Threatened Species and Ecological Communities, you would:

  • Go to the Mardigian Library's home page.
  • Click on the black "Books & e-Books" tile.
  • Paste "Monitoring Threatened Species and Ecological Communities" in the second text box (the one under Search the Library Catalog for Books & Media) and click "Search".
  • If the book is checked out, the status box will indicate the return date. You can get the book from another library by clicking on the blue and green box on the right labeled Checked out? Want to find more? Get items form other Michigan Libraries: MeLCat. Click on the green box.
  • Click on "Get This for Me!"
  • Choose "University of MI Dearborn" from the drop-down list, type your last name, type your UMID number, and click "Submit".

You will get a message that will tell you if the request is successful or not. If successful, it will also tell you which library the book is coming from (something from the Upper Peninsula will likely take more than 5 days to get to Dearborn). When the book is ready for you to pick up from the Mardigian Library, you will get an email notification.

MeLCat - video tutorial (2:25)

What do you do if the Mardigian Library doesn't have a book? This video demonstrates searching for a book that the library doesn't have and how to use that search result to order the book through MeLCat.
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