This guide is designed to help you use the Library Catalog to find library materials. The Library Catalog contains a record of every item owned by the library but is primarily used for finding books. It contains print materials (books, government documents, and periodicals), audiovisual materials (CD’s and videotapes housed in our Media Library), and books that are stored electronically in library databases such as ebook Collection (EBSCO).
Where is the Library Catalog?
- The Library Catalog is available from any Internet-enabled computer. Using a web browser, go to the library’s web site and look for the gray box labelled Search the Library's Catalog for Books & Multimedia. You can enter your keyword search directly in the box or you can click on the Advanced Catalog Search. There are additional links to the Library Catalog from many pages throughout the library’s web site.
What are my Advanced Search Options?
Advanced search defaults to the keyword search option. Catalog search modes are keyword, alphabetical and power.
- A power search allows for a multiple criteria keyword search. The power search screen contains four search boxes, in each of which you can enter a search term, and list boxes next to each that allows you to specify title, author, subject etc. An additional search feature in this screen is the limit box. This box allows you to restrict your search to a particular type of item or to a particular location. Choices here include the VC/UHV library, the Media Library, the Victoria Public Library, juvenile books, music recordings, regional history items and more.
- A keyword search is useful if you are not sure of the exact title, author, or subject heading. A list box to the left of the search box allows you to restrict the keyword that you enter to the title of a book or its author, its subject headings and even to a series it might be in. A general keyword search looks for your term in all of these places.
- An alphabetical search allows for a browse search by title or author or subject heading or series as well as by other criteria. It matches your search terms word by word with how author, titles and subjects are listed in the catalog. A title browse search is the most efficient way to find a book when you know its exact title. An author browse search searches by last name, first name (as in Hemingway, Ernest) while an author keyword search doesn’t care whether last name is entered first or last.
What Do I Do After I Run a Search
Whether you choose a keyword, alphabetical browse or power search, the remainder of the process is similar.
- Your first screen after running the search lists all matching records in the catalog.
- If your search was a keyword or power search then you see brief citations of matching items. This view includes the item’s call number, its location in the library and whether it is checked in. A box above the search results allows you to resort the citations alphabetically by author or title as or by year of publication. This screen also has a box that allows you to limit the current search results by type of item or location (for example, Media Library to find videotapes or CD’s). Clicking on a brief citation takes you to the full record for that item.
- If your search was an alphabetical browse search then this screen shows headings or titles, with the one closest to your entered search term(s) at the top of the page. If your search was author or subject you see author or subject headings. If it was a title browse then you see an alphabetical list of titles. Clicking on a heading takes you to the brief citation list (unless there is only one item under that heading in which case you go to the full citation). Clicking on a specific title takes you to a screen with two tabs. Clicking on the Title Information tab takes you to the full citation for that item.
- The full citation for each item in the catalog provides:
- Bibliographic information such as author, title, publisher
- Subject headings (hyperlinked so that with one click one can find all other items with the same subject heading)
- Chapter headings
- If the item is full text in the Net Library electronic database there is a hyperlink to the persistent URL for that book.
- The Availability tab provides copy/holding information (If this area is blank, the item is normally at the Victoria Public Library)
- Location (main library, media library etc.)
- Collection (e.g. Main Collection 3 rd floor)
- Call number
- Status (checked in, checked out with a due date, lost, missing etc.)
Study guide updated 12/06