Using the Library Catalog—A Quick Reference

This guide explains how to use various features of the library catalog. It covers searching from the 'Search' block on the left-hand side, placing and canceling holds, and renewing items.

SEARCHING THE CATALOG

Keyword Search

With this search you simply look for records containing the search terms you enter. You can limit your search to titles or author names (and more) by using the 'Search by' dropdown menu. You also can limit your search to a specific format such as book, DVD, music CD, or audio-book.

Finally, you can have your search results sorted alphabetically by author last name or title, by call number, by publication date, or by popularity.

Note: Popularity is determined by the number of other patrons placing holds and checking out a specific item within the past 120 days.

  1. Type a word or words in the search box. The catalog ignores words such as: and, the, on, an, a, of, for, to, by. It does this even if you use quotation marks. So, if you're looking for the title like 'On the Road' or 'To the Nines', perform an Exact Search instead.
  2. Use the dropdown menus to set any limits for your search.
  3. Click the 'Go' button.

Entering Terms

To search for the plural and singular form of a word, add an asterisk (*) to the end of the singular form. For example, truck* will find truck and trucks.

To search for various forms of a word, add an asterisk to the shortened form of the word. For example, comput* will find computer, compute, computers, computation, and computerization.

Quick Search

This allows you to perform a quick search of the library catalog and limit your search to a specific format:

  1. Type a word or words in the search box.
  2. Limit your search to a specific format by using the 'Limit by' dropdown menu to select the type of material you want.
  3. Click the 'Go' button.

Exact Search

This search allows you to look for an exact title, title phrase, author, series name, subject, or subject phrase. Unlike a Keyword Search, an Exact Search will not ignore 'stop words' like: and, the, on, an, a, of, for, to, by and other common two- and three-letter prepositions. An exact title search for 'On the Road' will only display items with the exact phrase 'on the road' in the title.

  1. Type the title, title phrase, author, series name, subject, or subject phrase you are looking for into the search box.
  2. Use the dropdown menus to set any limit for your search.
  3. Click the 'Go' button.

Browse Search

This search allows you to browse a catalog index alphabetically by title, author, or subject heading. This type of search is particularly useful if you are looking for two-letter titles (like 'A.I.'), short titles containing common words (like 'Big'), or researching a subject area and want to narrow your search using Library of Congress subject headings. You also can perform a Browse Search by Dewey call number.

  1. Type the title, author, series, or subject term(s) into the search box.
  2. Define what is being searched for using the Search by dropdown menu.
  3. Click the 'Go' button.

If you are performing a subject search, the search results are Library of Congress subject headings listed in alphabetical order. Click on a subject heading to have the catalog display the titles associated with the heading.

Advanced Search

This search allows you to search for multiple keywords or keyword phrases within a variety of fields. It also allows you to use Boolean operators (AND, OR, and NOT) to refine your search. This is the most complicated search screen. Please talk to a reference librarian if you have any questions about how to take advantage of Advanced Search.

  1. Type a word or words into various search boxes.
  2. Use the dropdown menus adjacent to the search boxes to refine your search further.
  3. Connect your search terms by selecting AND, OR, and NOT from the dropdown menu.
  4. Click the 'Go' button.

Boolean SearchMore Search Options

Below the search boxes defining the various search choices—Keyword, Exact, Browse, and Advanced—are the words 'more search options.' If you open Search Options by clicking the link, you will see ways to further limit your search.

search options

These search options allow you to limit your search:

  • to a specific branch of the library
  • by publication date
  • to a specific material type (DVD, book, music CD, Book-on-CD, etc.)
  • to a target audience (Juvenile or Adult)
  • to a specific language (Spanish or English)

Viewing Search Results

After you perform a search, the search results will be displayed. The system may offer spelling suggestions at the top of the list. If there is only one result, that specific item record will be displayed. If there is more than one result, a list will be displayed. The list results include brief information about each item.

Below the description of the item is information about the item's availability: the number of copies of the title owned by the library and the number of copies currently on the shelf. Also included is the number of holds on the item.

On the right side are five links:

  • Location/Availability—Shows number of copies owned, the number of copies on the shelf, the call number of the item, and where those copies are shelved within the system.
  • More Information—Displays more detailed bibliographic information about the title. You will access professional reviews of the item, a short summary of the item's contents, a larger image of the cover, an author biography, the text of the first chapter or an excerpt, access to information about the item in the NoveList database, and a Librarian's View of the bibliographic information.
  • Place Request—Allows you to place a hold on an item. 
  • An icon (book, CD, DVD), with the year of publication next to it, indicates the format of the item.
  • Add to My list is the final link.

search results

REQUESTING AN ITEM/PLACING A HOLD

If all the copies of an item are checked out, you can place a hold on it. This puts your name on a waiting list. When your name reaches the top of the waiting list, the item you requested will be set aside for you and the library will notify you that the item is ready for pickup.

  1. Click on the 'Place Request' button. You must be logged into your library patron account to place a request for an item. If you are not, you will be prompted to enter your library card number and password.
  2. Your title's information will display along with your library card number. You will need to designate at which location (Drive-Up Window, Ellettsville Branch, etc.) where you want to pick up your item.
  3. Click the 'Submit Request' button.

Canceling Hold Requests

You can cancel hold requests for items you no longer need. This may be especially useful if you have placed the maximum number of hold requests (the limit is 50), and you want to delete a request so you can place another.

  1. Log into your patron account (make sure you're in the 'My Account' tab).
  2. Click the 'My Hold Requests' link.

    Canceling hold

  3. Click on the boxes next to the items that you want to cancel; a check mark should appear.
  4. Click the 'Cancel Selected' button at the bottom of the request list. The requests will be canceled.

If you want to cancel all of the requests you have placed, click the 'Cancel All' button to the right of the 'Cancel Selected'.

Note: only items with a status of 'Active' can be cancelled.

RENEWING ITEMS

You can renew items you have checked out as long as no other patrons have placed holds on those items and/or you have not exceeded the maximum number of renewals.

  1. Log into your patron account.
  2. Click the 'My Items Out/My Renewals' link.
  3. Click on the boxes next to the items that you want to renew. A check mark should appear.
  4. Click the 'Renew Selected Items' button at the bottom of the Items Out list. The items will be renewed, and the new due date will be displayed.

If you want to renew all of the items you have checked out, click the 'Renew All Items' button to the right of 'Renew Selected Items'.

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