Skip to main content
OCCC banner image with library photo

LIS 1111 - Research Skills: Unit/Week 5

This LibGuide is for students in the LIS 1111 class.

Library Catalogs

A library catalog is a compiled list of bibliographic records for all of the books, DVDs, online films, eBooks and other material owned in a particular library. Today, most catalogs are available electronically and are searched online using, typically, a keyword, author’s name, or title. You may be familiar with the term “card catalog.” This term is usually used to describe a cabinet located in a library that is full of index cards. Each card represents a single item in the library and lists important information about that item, including information for where it is located in the library. A patron visiting the library could thumb through the card catalog to locate materials they might be interested in viewing. This type of catalog is largely non-existent today, having been replaced by the electronic, online catalog. All of the information you received from the card catalog is still provided, and much more. Electronic catalogs allow the addition of full tables of content, book reviews, book previews, images of the book, and more. Library catalogs today can be searched online from anywhere that there is an internet connection available. Most libraries now have an online catalog, allowing you to browse the collections of libraries all over the world. The links below will direct you to catalogs for libraries in the area, including the OCCC Library Catalog. Library catalogs, for the most part, work the same, but the user interface can look very different.

Using the OCCC Library Catalog

Go to the OCCC Library Catalog:

From the Library homepage, click on Books under Find.

Select Library Catalog.

Start Your Search:

The Library Catalog opens with a single box for searching. The search options you have when you click on the arrow next to All Fields, are All Fields, Title, Author, Subject, and ISBN.

Search Options in Library Catalog

The best way to start is to use All Fields. This search will look at every part of an item record for the keyword(s) you use. This means it will search more than just the title or subject fields, but also the summary, table of contents, and any other fields available.

You would want to use Title or Author when you know of a specific title or author you are looking for. The search will look only in the title or author field for matches.

If you use Subject, your search will look only in the subject field. The words selected for the subject fields are used for specific and consistent vocabulary selected by librarians. If you are not aware of the specific term they use (like Allergy instead of Allergies), you will not get as many results. That is why it is often best to search with All Fields first and then explore what Subjects are being used in the results you get.

ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number. It is usually a 10 or 13 digit number that is unique to a book. You would only use ISBN for your search if you know the exact ISBN for an item.

Type in your keywords and hit search. The list of results and the total number of results is shown. If there are very few in this results list, modify your search by choosing a broader search term or removing a keyword if you have more than one. If there are too many to be able to look through easily, you can narrow it down by including an additional keyword.

Limit Your Search:

The left side of the screen has options to Limit Search Results:

Library Catalog Limit Search Results Options

Choose between Material Type, Home Location, Publication Date, Subject, Author, or Language.

Material Type: The OCCC Library Catalog will display results for Audio-Visual material (DVD's and VHS), CD's and CD-ROMS, Books, Online Films, Electronic Books, and Audiobooks. Online Films will be from the OCCC subscription to Films On Demand and Electronic Books will be a variety of eBooks that OCCC owns, both for research and for pleasure reading. Use the Limiters to narrow it down to just books or maybe Online Films.

Home Location: There are several different locations in the OCCC Library. You might see 2nd Floor, Audio-Visual, Reference, Circ-Desk, and others. Use the Limiter for Home Location to narrow it down to just 2nd Floor items (anything you find on the 2nd floor can be checked out) or only Reference (Reference and other items on the first floor are non-circulating and cannot be taken out of the Library).

Publication Date: If you are only interested in books from the past 10 years, check the box next to Book and click Include and then change the Publication Date range to the past 10 years and then click Include.

Subject: Browse through the subjects that are related to all of your results. You might see good keywords to use to modify your search or you can choose one of the subjects listed to view just those items with that subject.

Author: All of the author names that came back in our search will be listed here. You can select an author if you want to see what else they have written that is owned by the OCCC Library.

Language: If your results include items that are not in English, you will see the languages that some of your results were published in. You can select English if you only want to view the items in English.

Play around with these Limiters to help you narrow your search. You may choose to use one or none of the Limiters. The Limiters that you selected will show up with a red X next to them. Click the X to remove the Limiter.

Select Items From Your Final Search Results:

Once you have a list of items you are happy with, you can begin looking at them closer. Look at the title to see if they seem relevant, but also click into the record to view the detailed information. Look at the subject fields (take note of the ones you want to use for new keywords), summary, table of contents, etc. to determine if the book is useful to you. If you want to find the book, take note of the Call Number and Location of the item. You can also text the information to yourself if you click on "Text This to Me."

If you use a book you find for your research, you need to cite it. You will need to create the citation for any books, videos, and eBooks you find in the catalog. If you need a citation for an online film, you must click into the link that takes you to Films on Demand and then look for the citation under the video.

Searching the Online Library Catalog Video (2:24)

Now Let's Practice

After viewing the Online Library Catalog Video, choose a topic of your own or one from the list below and practice searching within the OCCC Library Catalog. 

Gun Control

Identity Theft

Eating Disorders

Genetically Modified Foods

Library Classification Systems

There are two main systems of classification used in the United States: Dewey Decimal and Library of Congress. The OCCC Library uses the Library of Congress classification system. Understanding these systems and the basics of how the classifications work will help you in locating material in the library. One great way to find sources is to browse the shelves, but you've got to know what area to browse for each subject.

Follow the links and PowerPoint below to learn more about the systems:

The ABCD of Book Evaluation

You will use the ABCD of book evaluation for each book you use on your annotated bibliography. The chart below will help you walk through the evaluation. You will learn about each letter (authority, bias, currency, documentation), what you need to look for, why you need to look for the information, and how you can tell. The PDF at the bottom is the full size document.

ABCD of Book Evaluation

This Week's Assignments

This week you will be required to complete a catalog quiz and the Career and Education Annotated Bibliography.

For the Career and Education Annotated Bibliography, you should explore a career you are interested in and what the educational path looks like for it. The books you choose need to be relevant and useful for learning about the career you choose.