DCPLive is a blog by library staff at the DeKalb County Public Library!
Nov 27 2007

Library Basics – A Catalog Tip

by Chris S

Many of the questions we get at the library reference desk involve the use of our catalog. People want to be self-sufficient and to find what they are looking for, and part of our job as librarians is to teach the public how to use the catalog themselves. Many people expect the library catalog to behave like Google or Amazon in the way it finds items, but this is not the case. The library catalog what is known as a “finding tool,” and like all tools, it only works when you learn how to use it. Here’s a tip for searching success:

Tip #434 – Use List Searching Instead of Keyword Searching

When you know the specific title or author of a book (or other item) you’re looking for, list searching is the most effective way to quickly find it. Here’s how:

1. On the “Search” bar in the catalog window, click “Lists.”


2. Use the drop down menu to select which list you would like to search.


3. Type in your search terms (spelling must be exact!) and click Go:


4. Click on the correct item on the list of results (for context, your search term will be the third down).


Voila! You have found your list of all the John Grisham titles available at DeKalb County Public Library. This technique works the same way for titles or for subject headings. If you don’t know the exact title or author name, try typing some keywords into Amazon.com or a search engine. That usually allows you to know the information you need to use our catalog most effectively!

John F December 4, 2007 at 3:36 PM

This was helpful!! Could you explain how to use the “My List” shown once I’ve signed in? What’s it for?

Chris S. December 5, 2007 at 9:38 AM

John F.,

Thank you for your comment.

The “My List” feature allows patrons to mark items in the catalog that they might be interested in remembering later. Some people use this so they’ll remember titles they find in the catalog for later requests or reading, but that they don’t want to put on request at that time. As you browse the catalog, you will see an “Add to My List” button on the pages. To use it, just place checkmarks in the boxes beside the items you want to add, then click the add to my list button.

As of this writing, the My List feature remembers items indefinitely, but please be aware that the Library plans to update the catalog fairly soon and that all My List data will be lost in that transition. You have the option of printing the list, so use that to your advantage.

I hope this is helpful, and thank you again for your comment.

Chris S.
DCPL Librarian

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: