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Finding Books: Searching the Library Catalog

This guide will show you how to find books in the library catalog.

Finding Books

This guide will provide you with the basic steps for finding the books and other items you need in the Barbour Library catalog, and for retrieving them from the library shelves.  If you need additional assistance, don't hesitate to ask for help at the reference or circulation desks. 

How to Search

Finding a book in the Barbour Library collection starts with the catalog search page as shown below:


First, you must determine where you are searching.  The default setting, Everything, searches all of our resources, including both the Barbour Library collection and the database collection.  However, you can switch to a more specific location:

Limiting your search to the library collection means that you will only receive results that are items from the library catalog, like books, ebooks, or DVDs.  In contrast, the database search returns articles and abstracts from our digital database subscriptions.  A third option only searches items that have been put on reserve for PTS courses.  The other options below the top three represent specific Barbour Library collections that can be searched, like ebooks or reference materials.

The catalog search box defaults to a basic keyword search, but this can be changed to a variety of search fields:



Here is a brief description of the various search categories:

Keyword:  Keyword search is the catalog's default search setting.  Keyword searches for the words select in every field of an item's catalog entry (title, author, etc.) so it has a tendency to return a high volume of results. 

Author:  Enter the name of the author last name first ("Barth, Karl") to retrieve works by that author.  You can also use author search to find works by a group ("Society of Biblical Literature" or "United States Congress").

Title:  Type in the full or partial title of a work to retrieve it.  Searching for a series title will retrieve works in that series.  You can also use title search to find a title within a collection, like the title of an essay within an anthology.

Journal Title:  Just like the title search above, except that search results are exclusively from our periodical collection.

Subject:  You can use this search to find a list of books by subject.  The Barbour Library collection uses Library of Congress (LC)subject headings.  Most of the time the subject headings are simple and intuitive ("pastoral care", "Buddhism", etc.) but sometimes you will need to figure out the appropriate LC wording to find what you want.  If you are looking for books on the book of Luke, for example, the subject would be "Bible.  Luke".  Persons can also be searched for as subjects, using the same last name first order shown in the author search above.

Series Title:  Like the title search, but it locates all of the items in a particular series, like Anchor Bible 

ISBN/ISSN:  An ISBN is a unique number that is assigned to a specific book.  If you have this number, it is a quick and efficient way to find the exact title you are looking for.  An ISSN is similar to an ISBN, but it assigned to journal titles instead of individual books. 

Call Number:  A call number is a unique combination of letters and numbers that is used to identify a specific work.  For example, the Library of Congress call number for our most recent edition of Walter Bruggeman's The Prophetic Imagination is BS1198.B84 2001.  If you already have a book's call number, you can use this search to quickly determine whether or not it is in the Barbour Library collection and if so, where it is located.

Refining Your Search

Once you have selected your search category and entered your search words, you will receive a list of results.  Using limiting options, you can refine those results.  The limit options appear on the left side of the results page, and you can check the click boxes of specific selections within the category boxes, so that your results will match those selections only.  Here's an example:

This particular limiter, Material Type, allows you to pick specific media types, like books, electronic books, or DVDs.  Clicking on the boxes next to items selects them, and you can either limit your results to those items by clicking on "Include" or remove those items from your results by clicking on "Exclude."  There are many other useful limiter categories, including author, subject, and language.  Limits can also be applied to your search from the beginning using the Advanced Search option.

Sort gives you the option to change the order in which your search results are presented.  It defaults to relevance (in which the search engine uses an algorithm to determine the most appropriate results), but that can be changed to an alphabetical sorting by title or author, or in chronological order through ascending (earliest book published first) or descending (most recent book published first).  The screenshot below shows how to access the sorting options:






Research and Instruction Librarian

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Mark Russell
Barbour Library
616 N. Highland Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15206
(412) 924-1393