Library Catalog

Library catalogs are searchable online and contain records for all the items owned or licensed by the library. It also includes a circulation system that is used to check out materials. Students, faculty, staff, and the community can use the system to locate books and other materials for availability and checkout. Items in the catalog include print books, eBooks, journals (but not individual journal articles), documents, maps, movies, and streaming videos and more.

When to Use It

Use the library catalog to search for items that you can use and check out in the library.  Some items may require a university/college ID for use.

Note that the library catalog:

  • May include a table of contents (especially for print materials) and a link to full-text digital content.
  • Does not contain specific journal articles. The catalog can only tell you whether a journal or other periodical title is available.

How to Use It

To access the catalog you should go to the home page of the library and look for the term catalog, books, OneSearch, or a similar term.  From there, you can do a search by resource type (books, video, course reserves, etc…) or other options.

Search Types

The catalog allows searching by author, title, subject, and keyword as well as specialty numbers such as the Library of Congress call number and ISBN (International Standard Book Number). There is also an option for an advanced search.

Additional tips:
  • Keyword searches are the broadest search, as they search all information in an item record. (The search tips in Precision Searching, are based on using keywords.)
  • Subjects are a very specific set of terms that are helpful for precision searches. Often, the easiest way to find subject terms is to do a keyword search first and then look at the results for the subject terms for those that are good matches for your topic. There is more about subject heading searching in Library Databases later in this section.
  • The Advanced Search screen allows a few additional search capabilities, such as multiple search fields to narrow the scope of a search term. You can also limit by year range, language, location, or format.


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Critical Thinking in Academic Research Copyright © 2022 by Cindy Gruwell and Robin Ewing is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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