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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Introduction to Research at the Library: 1. Library Catalog

Learn to think like a librarian! This guide is an introduction (or a refresher) to using the library to find books and journal articles.

Finding Books

The library catalog contains records for the 14 million volumes held in all of the University's departmental libraries. It includes:

  • books
  • journals and magazines
  • music recordings and DVDs
  • electronic resources
  • maps
  • and more!

You can use it to locate items and have items sent between libraries for you to pick up.  You can also renew books, keep track of items you have checked out, and tag items.

Below is a step-by-step guide to the library catalog.

1. First, go to the library homepage, http://www.library.illinois.edu, and click on "Catalogs." You will see a drop-down menu. From the menu, select the top choice, "Library Catalog."

Homepage, highlight around "Library Catalog"

 

2. To go directly to the library catalog, select "Search Library Catalog."

screenshot of "log into your library account" webpage with an arrow point to the "search library catalog" option

3. Next, type in the word that you want to use to do your search, such as "Hemingway" for the author Ernest Hemingway. Limit the search by Keyword, Title, Author, Subject, or ISBN/ISSN. In the box below, "author" is selected.

4. Next, take a look at the results. There are over 400 results. We need to narrow the search. Look at the options listed in the right column. Those are called "filters." Under the heading "Author," click on "Hemingway, Ernest."

 

 

5. There are still over 100 results. Next, select "Fiction" under the heading "Topic."

 

6. Select "The Sun Also Rises." First, check that it is available.

 

7. What you see next is the catalog record. Note of the location of the item. This item is available at multiple locations.  Always be sure to make sure it says the item is available before you hunt for it!

 

8. Now, to request the item, first click on "Request Item." (See above) You will need to be logged into your library (VuFind) account to place the request (for more information about creating a library account, visit this guide on Using the Catalog).

 

9. Once you have logged into your library account, you will need to select the location where you would like to pick up the book. Then, if your request is time-sensitive, specify the date when you will no longer need the item. Finally, place your request!

 

Hands on Activity

  1. After viewing this page, start at the Library Homepage
  2. Navigate to the Library Catalog and set up a library account.
  3. Locate one item and request it through the library catalog.