Quick Links     

BlueLink Library Directory Careers Calendar Email

Oklahoma City University

Finding Books

  • Overview and Objectives
  • The Main Collection vs. The Reference Collection
  • The Library Catalog
  • Examine a Record
  • Subject Headings
  • Advanced Search
  • Your Library Account
  • WorldCat
  • Quiz

In this section we'll discuss the following:

  • How reference resources differ from other resources
  • How to search the library catalog
  • How to use subject headings to narrow and refine your searches
  • How to use the advanced search
  • What WorldCat is and how it can help you

By the end of this section, you should be able to do the following:

  • Explain how reference resources are different from other resources
  • Search the library catalog from the Dulaney-Browne Library homepage
  • Explain what subject headings are and how to use them effectively in your searches
  • Search from the advanced search interface in the library catalog
  • Explain what WorldCat is and how to use it to submit interlibrary loan requests

Academic libraries are divided into collections. Two of the most important collections at the Dulaney-Browne Library are the main collection and the reference collection. The main collection consists of scholarly and popular books and ebooks. The Dulaney-Browne Library's main collection is on shelves throughout the library and in the basement. (Refer to signs in the library elevators or ask a staff person if you're not sure where to find something.) The library also subscribes to ebooks that you can access through the Online Resources page, the Search Ebrary tab, and via direct links from their individual catalog records.

Note: The main collection is a good place to find primary sources, secondary sources for well-established topics, and historical information on a topic. For more current scholarship, look to peer-reviewed journal articles in library databases. For more raw, hot-off-the-presses information, online news aggregators, newspapers, and magazines will work, but they won't have the scholarly weight of a book or peer-reviewed journal article. If you're unsure how to distinguish between primary and secondary sources, check out this explanation from the librarians at Princeton University.

The Reference Collection

The main characteristic of a reference book is that it is a fact-based resource. The reference collection is a good place to find general facts, statistical data, background information, or historical information on a topic. In some disciplines, it isn't appropriate to cite encyclopedias in your research papers. In others, it is appropriate. If you're unsure, ask your professor. You'll find scholarly books and journal articles with more specific analysis and research in the main collection or an article database

There are many ways to use the catalog for Dulaney-Browne Library. The quickest way is to search directly from the library homepage (http://www.okcu.edu/library/). The default search, as you can see from the dropdown menu in the screenshot below, is a Keyword Relevance Search.

Library homepage with an arrow pointing to the library catalog search box

In a Keyword Relevance Search, the library catalog places the Boolean operator OR between each keyword by default. For example, if you type Mark Twain into the box and click Search, you'll get every record with the word Mark, every record with the word Twain, and every record with Mark and Twain, which is more than you want (see below).

Results of Mark Twain Search from the deafult Keyword Relevance Search box

Let's try the search again. This time, let's use the Keyword (and/or/not "phrase") search from the dropdown menu as shown below.

Library Catalog search with the Keyword (and/or/not "phrase") option selected

This time we'll enter the search Mark AND Twain in the box and get the following more focused, more relevant results. 250 results is much better than 3553.

Results page for the search Mark AND Twain

Finally, let's try a phrase search with the same Keyword (and/or/not "phrase") option and "Mark Twain" in the search box inside quotation marks. This search makes Mark Twain a single search term, so that the records returned have the author's first and last name right next to each other. This kind of search comes in handy when you're searching for autobiographical information and you want to eliminate the records related to people with the same first or last name.

phrase search for Mark Twain

Now that you have some tricks for using the catalog, let's go over what's on the results page. Each record lists the following as shown in the screenshot below:

  • The title as a hyperlink (Abroad with Mark Twain and Eugene Field; tales they told to a fellow correspondent)
  • The author's name (Henry Fischer)
  • The years the author lived (1856-1932)
  • The year the item was published (1922)
  • The call number (810.8 F533a)
  • The availability of the item (Available)
  • The item's physical location in the library (Circulating Storage Area)

The blue menu to the right of the list of results contains links for filtering results. Click the one indicated by the red arrow (add filter: Last 10 Years) to narrow your results to those published in the last 10 years.

Mark Twain Results Explained

If you click the title link, a screen with further details on the item appears.

Record view of Abroad with Mark Twain

Finally, if you'd like to check this book out, jot down the call number (810.8 F553a) and head to the circulation desk. A member of the library staff will be happy to retrieve it from the storage area for you.

Drilling down

Now that you have some basic search skills, let's talk about subject headings. Subjects headings (aka subject terms or subjects) can help you narrow and hone your search results in any database. Here, you'll look at how to use subject headings in the library catalog to find specific resources on Mark Twain. Then you'll get even more specific and narrow your results to resources on Mark Twain's novel Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Pick up where you left off on the previous page, and look again at the record for Abroad with Mark Twain and Eugene Field.

The links inside the red rectangle are the subject headings. As you may have already figured out, subject headings are short descriptions of what this book is about. So what happens when you click one of these links?

Library record with subject headings

Click the Twain, Mark, 1835-1910 subject heading. You'll get a list of other subject headings related to the one you clicked. Under "65 results found" you'll see the words "Subject Browse," which let's you know that you're browsing a list of subject terms related to the one you clicked, only these are narrower and more specific terms. The latter will help you drill down to more specific results. The hand cursor in the screenshot below shows you where to click to narrow from the broader topic (Mark Twain) to the more specific one (Mark Twain's novel Adventures of Huckleberry Finn).

 Subject Terms for Mark Twain

When you click, the catalog returns only those item records with the subject heading Twain, Mark, 1835-1910. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Note that you used subject headings to narrow down to 6 resources specifically related to Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Records from Adventures of Huckleberry Finn subject search

Let's go through the process one more time. This time check out the subject headings for the book The Jim Dilemma: Reading race in Huckleberry Finn. The number of subject headings here show that this book covers a lot of topics. Let's say you want to find more on Race relations in literature (highlighted with a red box).

Book record with a lot of subject headings

Clicking that subject heading brings you to the following screen.


Race relations subject terms

This screen tells you that this subject term has no narrower subheadings, so click the link to find out which items in the library catalog contain this subject heading. From the results below, you'll find 26 items on race relations in literature that you may not have encountered with a more straightforward keyword search. In this example, you used a subject heading to broaden your search from Mark Twain to race relations in literature.

Race relations in literature subject heading search results

Subject headings aren't just available in the library catalog. EBSCOhost and other databases have them too. Learn to use subject headings, and you'll become really efficient at finding resources relevant to your topic.

Another path to the catalog

Another useful feature of the library catalog is the Advanced Search. To find it, go to the library catalog through the Online Resources link on the left side of the library homepage (shown below near the red 1). A blue heading, Finding Books and Music, appears above a list of links to library resources. The first link below in our library is the Library catalog (near the red 2).

Screenshot with Library Catalog link highlighted

Finding the Advanced Search and Logging In

Click the link to get to the libary catalog. The red 1 below shows where to click to get to the Advanced Search. The red 2 shows where to log in to save searches, save records in your Bookbag, and put a hold on an item. You'll come back to those functions at the end. For now, focus on the Advanced Search.

library catalog page

Using the Advanced Search

Click the Advanced Search tab. Now check out the Advanced Search screen below and the terms in the search boxes. You'll continue your research on Mark Twain, this time focusing on race. Follow this set up for the Advanced Search in steps, so the thinking behind it is clear. The numbered list below refers to the red numbers on the screenshot below.

  1. Enter Mark Twain as a Keyword Anywhere search. This means his name will appear anywhere in the records returned by the search.
  2. Search Mark Twain as a phrase. This is a little tricky because other portals--including the Basic Search in the library catalog--allow you to use quotation marks to conduct a phrase search. That's not the case for the Advanced Search. Here the as a phrase option must be chosen from the middle dropdown menu next to the red 2 in order for a phrase search to occur.
  3. The keyword race will also affect your returns. Notice the Boolean operator AND appears between the two search terms. This means both the first and second row criteria must be met in order for a record to be returned. In other words, every record must contain Mark Twain as a phrase and contain the word race somewhere in the title.
  4. Again, the keyword race must appear in the title of any record that is returned.
  5. Finally, the item must be in the Main Library.

In summary, this search asks the database to search for items housed in the main library (5), with Mark Twain as a phrase anywhere in the record (1 & 2), and race in the title of the item (3 & 4).

Finally, at the bottom of the screenshot, the Search Tips explain how each of these limiters work. Be sure to take advantage of these tips if you need to jog your memory!

Annotated Advance Search Screen

To log in to your library account, go to the library homepage (http://www2.okcu.edu/library/), click Online Resources, and then click Library catalog. Finally, click Log in to your account at the top right. Log in with your OCU ID number minus the B and your last name.

Library Catalog Log In Screen

Logged in, you can perform more advanced actions, like renewing checked out items from the My Account tab (selected in screenshot below), saving searches, and saving items to the Bookbag. When you renew items, please note that overdue items may NOT be renewed this way. To get help with an overdue item, call the circulation desk at (405) 208-5068.

Renewing checked out items in the Library Catalog

Recalling an Item

When you're logged in, you can recall items that other patrons have checked out. What does that mean exactly? It means the patron with the item won't be able to renew it, the library will notify you when the patron returns the item, and the library will hold it until you drop by to check it out. If another patron recalls the item before you, they will get to check it out before you do, but they will not be allowed to renew it.

To recall an item, log in and search for the item you want. You can only recall an item if someone else has checked the item out. Once you find the one you want, click Request Forms on the right side.

Record Screen with link to placing a hold highlighted

Next, you'll get a screen with different types of requests. Click Recall.

Place a Hold

Finally, you'll get a screen specific to the item. Enter your OCU ID # minus the B and click Ok to recall it.

Final Screen for placing a hold

Get it; 2 days

  1. Another feature is Get it; 2 days shown below next to the red 1. This feature is different from the Recall feature because it applies to items available for check out. Follow the same initial steps of locating the item in the catalog. If it is available for checkout, you can submit a Get it; 2 days request, and a library staff person will retrieve the item within two days, email you to say that it is being held for you, and keep it behind the circulation desk for a week.
  2. Use this link to reserve a laptop or a study room--keep in mind these features only work well in Internet Explorer.
  3. The Document Delivery link allows faculty to request items be brought to them.
  4. The New Book Request allows any patron to request that the library purchase an item for the library collections. The library will seriously consider every request, but there is no guarantee the library will purchase requested items.

Requests Screen

That concludes our walkthrough of the basic functions of the library catalog. We haven't covered everything, but you should now know enough to conduct college-level research with the library catalog. Master these skills and you'll likely pick up others along the way. Often it's about getting used to navigating a series of new interfaces. Master one, and you'll likely master the next one too.

The world is your library

WorldCat is a catalog that searches library catalogs worldwide (a catalog of library catalogs). WorldCat saves the day when our library (Dulaney-Browne Library) doesn't have an item that you really really need. You can then locate the item in WorldCat and request it through interlibrary loan.

What's interlibrary loan (ILL)? ILL is a system that allows you to check out a book from another library when your home library doesn't have it. If you submit a request through WorldCat at our library, the Dulaney-Browne ILL department will do all in its power to get the book for you via mail. When it arrives, we'll contact you. You can then check the item out for a period determined by the home library.

So how do you use this wonderful system? Start with the link to WorldCat on the Online Resources page (below).

WorldCat on Online Resources page

This will take you to the WorldCat interface, where you can search for the item you're looking for.

WorldCat search interface

Below is a screenshot of some results. You'll notice that some of the results have Oklahoma City University, Dulaney-Browne written in green next to them. As you probably already guessed, that means that Dulaney-Browne has a copy. The ones that don't, of course, will be available only at other libraries. If OCU has the book, you won't be able to get it through ILL.

WorldCat results

Next, click into the third record in the list: Mark Twain; a collection of critical essays. From the screenshot below, you'll notice that WorldCat provides the same type of information you'd get from our library catalog. There's also a handy link to a list of Libraries worldwide that own the item.

WorldCat record

The next screenshot shows what happens when you click that hyperlink. Boom! You get a list of the libraries that own the item. The libraries are listed in order of their proximity, so you'll have an idea of how easy or difficult it will be for our ILL department to get it for you (not to mention how long it might take). You'll also notice at the upper right the button to click to get to the interlibrary loan request form.

Libraries that own the item

Below is the Interlibrary Loan Request form. Just fill it out and click submit. It's that easy!

Online ILL form


Before you answer the questions, be sure to fill in your name and class information so it will appear correctly on the submission page. The submission page will appear automatically when you click the submit button at the end of the quiz. Print the page and turn it in to your professor.

First Name: Last Name:

  1. Subject headings are available only in the library catalog.
    FalseCorrect. Subject headings are also available in article databases.This statement is false. Subject headings are also available in article databases such as Academic Search Complete.

  2. What are subject headings?
    Brief descriptions of topics covered within a specific library book.
    Powerful tools for honing searches.
    Links found inside a record.
    All of these.Correct. All three of those statements are true of subject headings.This statement does describe subject headings, but so do the others.

  3. Which Boolean operator does the Dulaney-Browne library catalog put between keywords by default?
    None of theseCorrectIncorrect

  4. What kind of information can be found in the reference collection?
    Factual information
    Statistical data
    Biographical information
    All of theseCorrect.Each of these options is a kind of information found in a typical reference collection.

  5. You can do an advanced search of the library catalog from the library homepage.
    False CorrectIncorrect

  6. Overdue items may be renewed after logging in to your library account in the library catalog.
    False CorrectIncorrect

  7. You can submit interlibrary loan requests through WorldCat.
    False CorrectIncorrect

The following questions will help us evaluate this module and make improvements. Please answer honestly.
  1. Is this your first time completing this module?

  2. What was most/least helpful about this online session?

  3. Do you have a better understanding of plagiarism than you did before this online session?
    No, not at all 1 2 3 4 5 Yes, much better

  4. Overall, how useful was this online session?
    Not Useful 1 2 3 4 5 Extremely Useful

Oklahoma City University | 2501 North Blackwelder | Oklahoma City, OK | 73106-1493 | (405) 208-5000 | Non-Discrimination Statement