Using the Library Catalog

The Library's Catalog is a powerful tool for exploring the great collection available to you. Use the Catalog to find what you're looking for, discover new items, and keep track of everything along the way.

The Catalog also connects to My Account for a truly personalized and dynamic Library experience.

And remember: Library Staff are always happy to help you find what you're looking for—just ask!

Searching the Catalog 

Whether you're looking for your favorite author's books, movies by a particular studio, or everything the Library has on a certain topic, a Search of the Catalog is a good place to start.

Basic Searches

Also called Keyword searching, a Basic Search is easy. Just as you would with an internet search engine, enter any word or phrase in the Catalog's search bar* and click "Go."

*You may also limit your search results using the pulldown menus just below the search bar to choose what you want to search on (e.g. titles, subjects, etc.) and limit your results to the format you want (book, streaming video, juvenile, etc.)

Power Searching

Sometimes you need more powerful Catalog searching tools. Look for these types of searches in the Search block on the left-hand side of a Catalog page:

Exact

Exact searching is helpful when you want to search for an exact phrase. An exact search looks for your text exactly as you enter it, in the order you enter it.

  • In the Search block on the left-hand side of a Catalog page, choose "Exact"
  • From the pulldown menus at the top of the page, choose what you want to search on (e.g. titles, subjects, etc.) and limit your results to the format you want (book, streaming video, juvenile, etc.) if you like
  • Enter the exact terms in the search box and choose "Go"
See more detailed Help on Exact searching
Advanced

Sometimes one search box just isn't enough! Use Advanced searching to combine multiple searches (e.g., title, author, subjec, etc.) at once for extra-powerful navigation of the Library Catalog:

  • In the Search block on the left-hand side of a Catalog page, choose "Advanced"
  • From the pulldown menus on the page, choose what you want to search on (e.g. titles, subjects, etc.) and limit your results to the format you want (book, streaming video, juvenile, etc.) if you'd like
  • Enter your terms in the search boxes and choose "Go"
See more detailed Help on Advanced searching
Boolean

Boolean searching is the most complex—but most powerful—way to navigate the Library catalog. From the Search block on the left-hand side of a Catalog page, choose Boolean and use operators like AND, OR, and NOT between search terms to construct a search string.

See more detailed Help on Boolean searching

Browsing the Catalog

It's sometimes helpful to see a list of items in the Library Catalog—titles, subjects, or authors, for example—in alphabetical order. That's when browsing is the way to go:

  • In the Search block on the left-hand side of a Catalog page, choose "Browse"
  • From the pulldown menus at the top of the page, choose what you want to browse (e.g. titles, subjects, etc.) and limit your results to the format you want (book, streaming video, juvenile, etc.)
  • Enter your browsing terms in the search box and choose "Go"
  • Page back and forth through the resulting list of browsing terms by choosing "Previous 10 Headings" and "Next 10 Headings" as needed

Special Catalog Features

Filtering Your Results

Many times you may be looking for items in the Library Catalog for specific types of materials (Large Print books or DVDs, for example), items held at a specific location, and so on. The Catalog offers a number of options for cutting large numbers of searching/browsing results down to specifically what you're looking for.
Pre-filtering searches

One way to specify that only the search results you want are returned is by pre-filtering. Do one of the following to pre-filter Catalog searches:

  • Use the "Limit by" pulldown menu underneath Search boxes to pre-filter your results to any of the categories listed
  • Choose the "More Search Options" link underneath Search boxes to see a number of parameters you can set for your search (Library location, Publication Date, etc.)
  • In Advanced Search, choose "And" or "Not" in the pulldown menus to the left of the search boxes to filter or narrow your search
After-search Filtering

Cutting down a long list of Catalog items is easy using the "Narrow Your Search" box to the left of your Search results:

  • Perform a search/browse in the Catalog
  • From the "Narrow Your Search" box, choose any combination of boxes as appropriate

My Account

Logging in to My Account makes using the Library Catalog a more dynamic and personalized experience. You can make lists of items with My Lists, get notifications when items are added to the Library's collection, place hold requests, and more. See how all that's done in the Features section of the Using My Accounts page.

Reviews & More

The Catalog's more than just a directory of where to find items in the Library's great collection. Many items in the Catalog feature links to social media, reviews, suggestions for similar items, and more. 
 
From your list of searching/browsing results, find additional content for an item by:
 
  • Selecting the item's title, then scrolling down the resulting page
  • Choosing "More Information" to the right of the item's title, then scrolling down the resulting page
  • Choosing other links (e.g., Google Preview) visible near the item's title

More Catalog Help