How to Use the Library Catalog

Where's the Online Catalog?

You can access the online catalog by pointing your browser to, or via the Hoffman family Library home page. From the home page you can either: 1) click the link in the navigation bar that says "Catalog", or 2) click the link that says "Search for books in the Catalog".

The Basic Search

You do not need to log into your account (1) to search for library items. However, by using your account, you can create your own book lists, place holds on books that the librarian will set aside for you, and you can add titles to your cart.

What type of search to use?

The basic search bar at the top of the screen (2) offers a few options to help narrow your search. It defaults to searching the "Library Catalog" but you can choose another.

The Advanced Search

Use the advanced search feature (1) when you want to create a more targeted search by:

Use the drop down menus to choose which field you want to search. Each search term must appear somewhere in the catalog record for the items to be included in the results list.

You can further specify your search using limiters.

  1. Limit to only items copyrighted in the year or years of your choice. Enter multiple years as a range: 2010-2014.
  2. Limit by item type so that you only see items that are, for example, Audio/Visual or Non-Fiction.
  3. Limit by the language in which the book was written.
  4. The results list can be sorted by relevance, popularity, author, call number, date, or title.

The Results List

After you click on "Search", you will get a Results List based on the terms and limiters you used. There is a lot of information on this page and a lot of choices as to what to do next.

  1. See how many results your search returned. If the number is too low, you may want to try some different search terms. If it's too high, you might want to try to limit the results.
  2. If a title interests you, click on it to view the bibliographic record and learn more about the item.
  3. Use the sidebar to limit your results so you only see results that fit the criteria you select.
  4. This notes that this book is available and gives you the location and call number so you can find it.
  5. This item is checked out, so you won't find it on the shelf.

Bibliographic Records

This is what a biliographic record looks like in the catalog. It provides you with a wealth of information about the book, including all of the information you would need to create a citation.

  1. The item's title and, when available, an image of the cover.
  2. Publication information.
  3. Subject keywords. These are links to a search for more items on the same subject.
  4. Holding information tells you how many copies we have of this title, as well as information only applicable to one specific copy.
  5. Click here to read comments about the item posted by other library users.
  6. If you would like us to hold the item for you at the circulation desk, click "Place hold", or save the item to your cart to access it later.