FAQS: Catalog Help

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1. How do I find articles in journals?

In a hurry? Use keywords in the uSearch tab to search on the Libraries home page.

  • uSearch searches a majority of the Libraries electronic and print journals
  • You can limit your search to articles from specific types of publications such as scholarly journals

Need better results? Find a database for your subject by using the Research Guides.

2. How do I find audiobooks?

A Subject search in the catalog for "audiobooks" will bring up a list of all the titles that the Libraries own but that's hundreds of titles.

The recommended search is to use Keyword with "audiobooks" and at least one other term. For instance, "audiobooks potter" will bring up a list of the Harry Potter novels that the Libraries own as recordings.

You could use words from the title, the author's name, or the type of book, such as "mystery'.

3. How do I find books?

The Library Catalog lists all of our print, online, and recorded books as well as other materials. It does not contain materials in the Law or Medical Libraries; for those, you must use their separate catalogs.

In the Library Catalog, you can do a Title search if you know the exact name of the book. If you're not sure of the exact title, use Keyword.

If you want books by a particular person, use the Author search. Type in their last name first! If you want to see books that other people have written about an author, such as William Shakespeare, then you would put Shakespeare in as a Subject.

Subject searches can be tricky because the Libraries use a strict, formal set of subject terms. If your Subject search does not find the material that you want, try Keyword.

4. How do I find dissertations and theses?

Many dissertations and theses completed at UM  since 1961 are available online through the UM Scholarly Repository.

Print copies of all UM dissertations and theses from 1943 to 2008 are available through the Libraries catalog but they are not stored on public shelves. You must find the record for the title that you want and then click on the Request button.

In the catalog, do a Title search if you know the exact name of the paper that you want. If you are not sure, use the Keyword search.

Do an Author search if you know the writer's name. Enter it last name first; i.e., Smith, John.

If you want to find papers on your subject, do a Keyword search.  Include either the word "theses" or "dissertations" along with any words that describe your subject.

5. How do I find DVDs?

All the DVDs in Richter Library are on public shelves arranged by genre and may be browsed. DVDs at Weeks Music Library are stored behind the circulation desk. DVDs are also listed in the Libraries catalog just like books.

On the Libraries home page, click on Catalog above the search box. If you know the exact title of the film you want, change Keyword to Title and enter the name.

You can do an Author search for a film. Authors will include the director and the principal actors. Always enter the name last name first; i.e., Wayne, John.

You can search for a particular genre of film by doing a Subject search; i.e., comedy films, romance films, etc.

The nonfiction or documentary films are arranged by the same call number system as the books. If you already know where the books on your subject are, just check under the same call number in the DVD collection, nonfiction genre.

To search the catalog for films on your subject, use the Keyword search. Include the word "documentary" and any other terms that describe your subject.

6. How do I find the right librarian?

Please see the list of subject librarians.

7. How do I read and find a call number?

The call number alone is not enough to find a book. You also need to note the location. The Libraries use the same call number system across multiple collections in multiple libraries.

Once you know the location, the Libraries' basic call number system is easy to use. Let's say that you wanted to find this book:

Richter 4th Flr Stacks
QE83 .G7413 2003 

Once you get to the fourth floor of Richter, look for the Q's. They will go Q, QA, QB, etc. Find the QE's.

Within the QE's, they will go 1,2,3,4,5, etc. Find the 83's.

Within the QE 83's, they will go .A, .B, .C, etc. Find the .G's.

Within the QE 83 .G's, you are now dealing with decimal numbers. .G2 will come after .G14. Between .G7 and .G8, you will find .G7413.

Once you get that far, you should have no trouble finding the book. If you cannot find it, go to the Access Services desk on the first floor and ask for help.

8. What is a QR code?

QR codes (Quick Response Codes) are similar to traditional barcodes.  However, instead of representing a number, the pattern of dark squares represents encoded text, usually a message, website or contact information.

 How do I use it?

You must have a phone or other smart device with a camera.  Some phones have a QR code reader already installed, otherwise you need to download a QR code reader.  Most are free downloads.  Once you have a QR code reader on your phone, simply point the camera at the code. Some readers automatically read the QR code while others require you to “take a picture” of the QR code.  Some QR code readers work better on certain devices, so read reviews and try a few until you find one that works for you.

 What does it do?

You can scan the QR code and receive different types of information depending on what is encoded and the capabilities of your QR code reader.

In the library catalog, the QR code will provide the location, call number and availability of a book.   

The library is exploring other uses of QR codes.  For example, the code on a poster or exhibit might take you to a website, or open an email application with the “To” field filled in.  

Is there any risk?

Most QR codes are safe to use.  But malicious QR codes can contain viruses, so be cautious of QR codes that show up in unsolicited emails or that you find on suspicious websites. 

 Wikipedia article