Please ask a member of the library staff for assistance if you have any problems using this catalogue or click here.
Using the Library Catalogue
Using the library catalogue
The library catalogue will help you find all these library materials: books, movies, and electronic resources.
The online catalogue has:
- more information (such as whether the item is checked out or on the shelf)
- more ways to search (such as by author, title, subject, and keyword)
The catalogue includes all of the items owned by the library.
Our library catalogue is called Oliver. The purpose of this page is to help you make friends with Oliver.
The Catalogue is not the same as the Internet
Searching the catalogue isn't the same as searching the World Wide Web.
Library catalogues give you access to:
- library materials that have been chosen by librarians
- physical items the library has, like books, CDs, videos, etc.
- electronic resources that you view on the computer
In contrast, the web (World Wide Web):
- contains billions of web pages
- has no quality control—nobody checking whether information is correct or misleading, up-to-date or outdated, useful or offensive
The title is what you call the item.
When would you want to search by title?
- when you're fairly sure of the title
- when you know the first part or some words in the title
Searching the Catalogue by Author
Authors are the people or organizations who created the item.
When would you want to search by author?
- to find all the books a particular author has written
The subject or subject headings are:
- words or phrases that tell what the book, video or CD is about
- used in the same way for books, videos, CDs, etc.
(Example: A subject search on "decks" would get you books and videos about building decks)
Subject headings are chosen by librarians as a way to organize large amounts of information. The tricky thing about subjects is that people use different words to talk about the same thing.
Here are a few examples:
- People call them cars, autos, and automobiles, but the subject heading for all of them is "automobiles."
- People call it the flu or the grippe, but the subject heading is "influenza."
- Cook books have the subject heading "cookery."
A "keyword" search is when you ask the catalogue to search for words you type.
The catalogue matches your words with words found in the title, author, or subject.
Here are a few examples:
If you search on the keyword "decks" you might find:
- a book called "Fences, Decks, and Other Backyard Projects"
- a videocassette called "Basic Decks Construction and Finishing"
- a book called "The Intruders" with the subject "aircraft carriers - flight decks"
The information on this page has been adapted from The Library Catalog Tutorial.
©2004 Infopeople Project. All rights reserved. This tutorial was written and conceived by Cheryl Gould and Diana Spaulding, with editing and web design by Nancy Nerenberg. This tutorial may be linked to, printed, or copied for non-commercial use without further permission of the authors, provided this notice is present.
The Infopeople Project is supported by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, administered in California by the State Librarian. Last updated August 1, 2004.