[Library lessons] Expert catalog search skills, pt. 3

In yesterday’s post, I explained why keyword searches aren’t very effective in the catalog, and why authorized headings make catalog searches superior to, say, Google keyword searches. Before I continue with that line of thinking, let’s go off on a tangent here and look at a catalog record.  (If the print is too fine, you can look at the record here.)

Let me sum up what is included in records, so I can explain the really important parts:

  • Author
  • Title
  • Publication Info (labeled “Publ Info”)
  • Permanent link to the record (you can use this URL to send people to this exact catalog page)
  • A box that tells you what libraries have the item, the call numbers at those libraries, and the status of the items
  • Physical description (labeled “Descript”)
  • Series
  • Notes
  • Contents
  • LC Subjects
  • ISBNs

All of these parts are helpful in telling you something about the item.  But the really interesting parts are the parts that have hyperlinks built in them.  (In our catalog, those are the underlined blue terms.)

In this example, we have an author, a series, and LC Subjects that are hyperlinked.  (Just for clarification, I want to mention that the call numbers are hyperlinked too, but if you click on them, they will take you to a page where you can browse nearby call numbers.  That’s really helpful, since call numbers are arranged by subject, so you can see what ‘sits’ nearby in the collection.  But the call number is not an authorized heading, which is my focus here.)

In tomorrow’s post, I’ll explain why the author, series, and LC subject fields are a Big Deal.  Stay tuned.

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