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Using the Public Access Catalog (Version 1.4)

This section shows you how to perform basic search functions using Library.Solution PAC. L.S PAC is a public access catalog that utilizes your computer's Internet Web browser (such as Microsoft's Explorer or Netscape's Navigator). If you are unfamiliar with the navigational features of your Web browser, consult the browser's Help before proceeding with instructions that follow.

In this section you will:

Do a broad keyword search;

View the general search process;

Perform author searches;

Limit searches by publication date, language, format, and place of publication;

Perform title searches;

Conduct Boolean searches;

Conduct wildcard searches;

Conduct combination searches;

Browse the catalog;

Change the record display;

Create and print bibliographies;

Download or print MARC records.



Recognizing Elements of the Search Window

If you are using the PAC in a library, the home page of your public access catalog should already be displayed (Figure 1).

From the home page you can:


To perform a general keyword search of the catalog, type anything in the search query box on the home page and click Search. The results returned are based on searching all categories in the catalog (author, title, subject, and notes). For more information go to our keyword searching hints page.

To perform a simple search, select Search. A new page will appear (Figure 2). The following search elements are available:

Viewing the Simple Search Process

Understanding the options available in the simple search process (the Search option) will help you plan your search strategy and obtain consistent search results. A sample search is shown in:

Figure 3a

Figure 3b

Figure 3c

Figure 3d

In general, the following steps (Figure 3a through 3d) are performed:

  1. The parameters on the main search menu are set;
  2. The search is limited if necessary;
  3. The search is launched and a list of matches is displayed;
  4. An item on the list of matches is selected and the item record is displayed. (In some cases, you will need to select from a second results list before an individual record is displayed.)

The Home and Help buttons are available throughout the search process, the first returning you to the PAC home page, and the second providing access to online Help page. (The New Search, Browse, and Combination Search buttons are also available and are described later.) Notice that some of the text on various pages is underlined, indicating that additional information is linked to selected text. If you wish to look at the screen previously displayed during your search, select the Back button on your web browser.

This is a good time to practice navigating through the PAC. Follow the sequences displayed in Figures 3a through 3d. When you are finished, click the Home button to return to the home page.

Performing Author Searches

Library.Solution PAC lets you search your catalog's author, title, subject, and notes indexes separately or in combination. Although searching is a simple, straightforward process, understanding the elements of search and display features will help you obtain reliable, consistent results.

The following examples illustrate the variety of results obtained from a search of William Shakespeare using the single Search feature.

Author Searches

To search for works written by William Shakespeare:

Limiting Your Search

So far you've seen that author searches can be limited by word order and word position. They also can be limited by date of publication, language, format, and place of publication. (Branch Collection limiting can be added using the PAC Configuration program.) To use the search limiting features:

  1. Click on Set Limits on the search menu. The window shown in Figure 3b will appear.
  2. Select the Format checkbox and choose Any non-print from the pulldown menu (Figure 8). (You could check any or all of the boxes. You can select more than one option within a pulldown menu by holding down the Ctrl key when you click on an item.)
  3. Click on the Set Limits button to return to the search menu. Note that the Set Limits feature has changed to Change Limits, indicating that one or more limit has been set.
  4. Enter the search query you last used (Figure 7) and select Find. A new results list will appear (Figure 9) showing only non-print items. The following message appears at the beginning of the results list: Results filtered according to Limits.

Performing Title Searches

To search for works with William Shakespeare in the title:

  1. Click on Search select Titles from the pulldown menu (Figure 10) This limits your search to titles only.
  2. Select the begin with option from the next pulldown menu (Figure 10).
  3. Type William Shakespeare in the empty "word(s)" box (Figure 10) and click the Search button. (You are searching for only titles that contain William Shakespeare at the beginning of the line.) A results list similar to that shown in Figure 11 will appear.
  4. Now change the begin with option to contain and press Search. (You are now searching for titles with William Shakespeare in any position.) A results list similar to the one shown in Figure 12 will appear.
  5. Click on the first item in the results list to view an individual record similar to the one shown in Figure 13. (The fields displayed in the labeled record can be modified by staff with appropriate security). Note that:

Conducting Boolean Searches Using the Search Feature

In the previous sections you learned how to search for individual words (Shakespeare) or phrases (William Shakespeare) in the catalog. L.S. PAC also lets you search for words and phrases in certain combinations. This feature is known as Boolean searching, and the symbols used to connect words and phrases are called Boolean operators. The following table illustrates the operators available, sample searches, and the desired results.

Operator Example Explanation
AND or & Shakespeare & Bard Search for both Shakespeare and bard anywhere in the same field
OR or | Shakespeare OR Bard Search for Shakespeare or bard anywhere in the same field
NOT or ~ Shakespeare ~ Bard Search for Shakespeare and not bard in the same field


Before you try your hand at Boolean Searching from the Search the Catalog page, remember that:

Structuring the Search

When you enter a search query in the "word(s)" box and press Find, the PAC reads your entry from left to right, using the Boolean operators and other symbols. It does not combine adjacent words into phrases unless you give it further instruction. For example, if you entered

William Shakespeare AND Julius Caesar

as a search query, the PAC would search for records that contained all four words in any order. This problem can be solved by nesting words within parentheses. For example, the query

(William Shakespeare) AND (Julius Caesar)

would cause the PAC to search for occurrences of William Shakespeare and then search among the results for records that also contained Julius Caesar. Try using the two search queries presented above to see if different results are produced. Can you figure out what the following query would retrieve?

((William Shakespeare) OR (Julius Caesar)) NOT (George Lyman Kittredge)*

*Find the phrase William Shakespeare or the phrase Julius Caesar where it does not appear with the phrase George Lyman Kittredge.

Conducting Wildcard Searches

L.S. PAC allows you to search for partial words in the search query box by using the wildcard symbol * to the right of a word stem. For example, a search of titles that begin with sales* might return a results list with titles starting with Salesperson, Salesmanship, or similar words. A contains search on titles using the query sales* might return a results list with titles such as Death of a Salesman or Effective Sales Management.

You may also use the * character in a search as a substitute for any individual character. For example, a titles search on wom*n will return results that include both woman and women.

Exact Phrase Searches

You can designate exact phrases to search by enclosing them in quotes ("All's Well that Ends Well").

Searching: Putting it all together

So far you have learned how to

The skills you have developed can also be applied to subject, notes, and any items searches. Try the following searches to expand your skills:



Performing Combination Searches

You have just learned how to perform a Boolean search using the Search option. This section shows you how to perform Boolean searches using the Combination search function.

First, the Combination search page has three search entry lines instead of just one (
Figure 14). For each entry line, you can select the type of entry to be searched. Click the down arrow beside each selection box on the right and choose Title, Author, Subject, or Note. After the first and second entry lines, select one of the Boolean operators AND, OR or NOT to determine the relationship between a search term and the term following. If you use two different operators select the radio button that describes how search terms should be grouped:

(Term 1 OPERATOR Term 2) OPERATOR Term 3

Term 1 OPERATOR (Term 2 OPERATOR Term 3)

Second, while Search performs a single search, the Combination search performs up to three individual searches and combines the results according to the relationships you defined among the search terms. Using Search, you could build a search query that looked in the author and subject indexes for Nathaniel Hawthorne AND John Brown (Figure 15). The results would display items for which both Nathaniel Hawthorne and John Brown were joint authors and subject entries which listed both Nathaniel Hawthorne and John Brown. (You would probably get few, if any, results.) You could also search the author index separately for works written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, and the subject index separately for John Brown. (You would probably get plenty of results, but you would have to review them to see if any were relevant.)

Using the Combination search feature, you could build a search query that looked only in the author field for Nathaniel Hawthorne and only in the subject field for John Brown (Figure 16). You could also specify that both conditions must be met before results are displayed. (To do this, select the Boolean AND between the first and second entry lines.) Depending on the contents of your library catalog, you could find the relevant item quickly and easily.

There is no difference between the way individual search queries are built in Search and Combination searches. You can use boolean operators within a search query (search for Nathaniel Hawthorne AND John Brown) as well as use wildcards (*), and phrases (enclosed in quotation marks). You can also Set Limits in either search mode.

Using the Browse Feature

The Browse feature gives you a different way to search for and display results than the Search and Combination search options.

First, it lets you select Titles, Authors, Subjects, Notes, Local Call No., Dewey Call No., GPO, ISBN, ISSN, LC Call No., OR LCCN. (Only one field can be searched at a time.)

Second, it creates a list of the results for your limited search and displays then in the form of a list in which you can move up or down (browse).

For example, you could perform a Title search for works containing Shakespeare (Figure 17). The results would be available in the form of a word list which you can browse using the up or down arrows (Figure 18).

You could also perform a Dewey Call number search (Figure 19). Your results would be available in the form of a numeric list which you can browse using the up or down arrows (Figure 20). (To search your own library's call numbers, use Local Call.)

Changing the Record Display

L.S PAC lets you change the way individual records look. The default display option (also known as the Labeled display) is shown in Figure 21. (Since the display is configurable by Library staff, the screen you view may differ slightly from this illustration.) Note that the labeled display may include:

Information about the item's location is also shown, including:

You may also view the record in MARC record format by selecting the MARC button at the top of the screen. A view similar to the one shown in Figure 22 is displayed, showing the individual record fields and their contents. To return to the previous display, select the Label button at the top of the screen.

Note: If you wish to know more about MARC record format, consult the L.S Cataloging module's Cataloger's Reference Shelf.

Downloading and Printing MARC Records

L.S PAC lets you save individual records in MARC format to a file for later use. (This feature is designed primarily for persons who catalog items using L.S Cataloging.) To save an individual record in MARC format, select the MARC Download button from the top of the record display. If you do NOT have L.S Cataloging open, the following message will appear: MARC Record saved to L.S Cataloging queue. and the record will be available the next time you open the Cataloging module. If L.S Cataloging is open, the record will be placed in an Edit window.

You can use the Windows Print feature to print files you have saved, and your browser print feature to print records displayed on screen.

Creating a Bibliography

You can save, display, organize, and print records you select from your searches. To save a record to a bibliography:

  1. Conduct a search and display a record on your screen (such as the one shown in Figure 21).
  2. Select the Save to List button at the top of the screen. A new screen will be displayed with the message The item was added to your list. Note that the display now includes a Review List and a Clear List button. These buttons will remain on your screen as long as you have saved records during this session. Repeat steps 1 and 2 until you have saved as many items as you want.
  3. Select the Review List button at the top of the screen to display the current bibliography (Figure 23).
  4. To print the bibliography, use the Print feature on your Web browser.
  5. To save the bibliography as a file, select Review List to display the information, then use the File | Save As feature on the browser's menu. Select the location where the file is to be stored, give the file a name, and save it as a text (txt) file. You will then be able to edit the list using a word processor.
  6. To start a new bibliography, select the Clear List button. If you want to keep your current bibliography, you should save it before using the Clear List feature.
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