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Sorting Out the Online Catalog - Part 1

Posted on June 04, 2013 at 9:52 AM

Our online catalog is feature rich allowing you to find exactly what you are looking for. But when presented with so many features you might find it difficult to sort through all the options. This is the first of several posts about what is available with our online catalog and how you can utilize it to your benefit.

To quote a famous would-be nun who enjoyed making play clothes out of draperies: "Let's start at the very beginning." --Pictured below Maria (Julie Andrews) and the Von Trapp children (in their play clothes done up Maria style) in the 1965 Sound of Music Film.

Sound of Music

A Google search was the thought behind the design of the online catalog. Just type in what you want and hit Search. While that works great for Google public libraries want to offer a few more options. There are two drop down menus to the left of the search box. These drop down menus are there to help you narrow down your search right away.

The left most drop down menu allows you to search specific collections/areas in the library. Do you only want to view what is available at the Ossian Branch? If so, select Ossian Branch from the drop down menu and enter your search and the search results will only display material available at that location. Sometimes you may only want to browse for certain material, like music, to see what we have. Select music from the drop down menu and leave the search box blank. The search results will display all music the library owns.

The next drop down box allows you to search different fields such as Author, Title, ISBN, etc. By default all fields are searched. For instance, if you type 'king' in the search box your search results will list everything in our catalog referencing the word 'king'. You will see results from author Stephen King, to the movie King Kong, to the book King Lear. If you are only interested in the author Stephen King then you can save yourself some scrolling by selecting Author in the drop down menu.

Combine the two drop down menus to control your search even further. Are you only interested in items written by Stephen King available at the Ossian Branch? Select Ossian Branch from the first drop down menu, select Author in the second drop down menu, then type 'Stephen King' in the search box. The search results will display all items written by Stephen King available at the Ossian Branch.

It's as easy as that. I hope this information makes life a bit easier for you when searching through our catalog.

Do you have any questions, or do you have a suggestion for a future post? Please let me know.

It should be noted that my favorite author is Stephen King and one of my favorite movies is The Sound of Music. Try sorting that out!

Category: Technology


Written by Christine Will

My name is Christine Will, Systems Administrator for the Wells County Public Library. You can find me locked away in the library tower trapped under spare computer parts and cables. I am sometimes able to find my way to the light so feel free to email me at cwill(at)

Read all posts written by Christine Will

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