5-Search Tools

24 Library Catalog

Most, if not all, library catalogs are searchable online and contain records for all items that library owns or holds licenses. Many library catalogs also include a circulation system that is used to check out materials to their patrons.

For example, the Community College of Rhode Island library catalog is available online and contains records for all the items owned or licensed by the CCRI Library. It also includes a circulation system that is used to check out materials. Students can use the system to request books and other materials and have those items sent from one campus to another for pick up at the CCRI Library on their preferred campus. Items in the catalog include books, journals (but not individual journal articles), movies, and recordings.

When to Use It

Use the library catalog to search for items that you can access because you are affiliated with the Community College of Rhode Island, to locate where those materials are stored, and to request them.

Note that CCRI’s library catalog:

  • Does not contain the full-text of any materials. However, some items may include a table of contents and a link to full-text digital content.
  • Does not contain specific articles. The catalog can only tell you whether a journal or other periodical title is available.

How to Use It

To access the catalog, locate the Books tab on the CCRI Library home page at ccri.edu/library. From there, use the text box to search for items.

Search Types

The catalog allows searching by author, title, journal title, subject, and keyword as well as specialty numbers such as ISBN (International Standard Book Number). There is also an option for advanced search.

Additional tips:

  • Keyword searches are the broadest search, as they search all information in an item record. (The search tips in Precision Searching, are based on using keywords.)
  • Subjects are a very specific set of terms that are helpful for precision searches. Often, the easiest way to find subject terms is to do a keyword search first and then look at the subject terms for those that are good matches for your topic. There is more about subject heading searching in Specialized Databases later in this section.
  • The Advanced Search screen allows a few additional search capabilities, such as multiple search fields to narrow the scope of a search term. You can also limit by date range, language, location, or format.


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Choosing & Using Sources: A Guide to Academic Research Copyright © 2015 by Teaching & Learning, Ohio State University Libraries is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.