Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Otis Library Online Catalog

Many people may have used the library’s OPAC to conduct a basic single field search for an item using a keyword, subject, author or title. However, the online catalog offers other search features worth exploring while you are using the OPAC in the library or when your searching from your home computer. The advanced search found under the Search options tab on the catalog home page allows you to search multiple fields simultaneously (author, title etc.) while choosing to limit your search to a specific library, material type (book, audio book, DVD), language and publication date. It also gives you the ability to sort the results you receive by date, title, or relevance.
The online catalog also allows you the opportunity to widen your search to all of the collections in the LION consortium using the drop-down menu on the catalog’s home page. Likewise you can limit you search to a specific library using the same drop-down menu. Using this same menu also gives you the power to exclusively search specific types of collections (Children’s, Teen, Adult, Music, downloadable E-books and audio books). Once you locate a specific item record, a book for instance, you can continue to refine your search for other books by using three other OPAC features, subject headings, tags and the other readers liked links. The Library of Congress subject headings included in the item record are clickable links to other topics that are directly related to the item’s subject. This is important search function for persons who are looking for multiple books within a specific subject area. Collecting books as research for a term paper might be an example of a good use of searching subject heading links. Tags are very similar in nature to subject headings and serve the same function of finding other items related to the subject area of your search. Tags are subject-based links that are based on the consensus choice of people who have read specific books and taken the time to classify them. Clicking on a specific tag will bring you to a larger list of titles within the same topic area of your search. The final search function appears at the bottom of every item record. It’s called “Other Readers Liked”, and is a group of books pertaining to the same or related subject material which can be used to extend your search if you choose. Selecting each of the title links takes you to the book’s OPAC record. Reference Staff

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