Skip to main content

Tutorial: TOPCAT, the Library Catalogue: Advanced

An essential tutorial for understanding how to find what's in our Library.

Advanced TOPCAT Features

When you really want control over your search, use Advanced Search.

The Advanced Search screen provides several lines for combining search terms in different fields. It also allows you to set search limits.

You can define:

  • where your search terms must be located: title, words/phrase, author, subject, etc.
  • whether an "and" or "or" belongs between terms
  • language of item
  • location
  • how results are sorted - only if there are fewer than 200 items.

Here's what the screen looks like:

screen shot of catalogue advanced search

Practice

  • To find all the items written by Leonard Conolly about George Bernard Shaw, enter "conolly" as an author and "shaw" as a subject.
  • To find online videos about revolution, enter "revolution" as a search term and select "Media Online/Streaming" as a type.
  • To limit a search to ONLY e-books, select "E-Book" as a location.
  • Think of other ways you can use the Advanced Search to narrow down your results. 

For More Information

Tips for Advanced Search in TOPCAT/Library Catalogue

  1. An Advanced Search is a keyword search.
  2. The Library Catalogue usually assumes "and" between your terms, but sometimes your results are better if you enter it between terms.  (See the Keyword Tutorial for details.)  Example: maya and agriculture.
  3. The truncation symbol in the Library Catalogue is $.  Use this symbol at the end of any group of letters to find any ending (0-100 characters).
  4. The wildcard symbol in the Library Catalogue is ?.  Use this symbol within a word to find any one character in that spot.
  5. Phrases: to force a phrase, use single quotes.  Example: 'acid rain'.
  6. Think creatively; you can search for a word in the title, another as an author, and a third as a subject.
  7. Use limits to specify language, location, year, etc.

Explanations of truncation, wildcards, and phrases are in the Keyword Search tutorial, which comes after TOPCAT/Library Catalogue.

If a book you want is currently signed out to someone, you can place a Hold on it. When you do this, the person who has it will not be allowed to renew it, and once it's returned to us we'll hold it for you. If it's on an extended loan (available to graduate students, staff, and faculty), we'll ask them to return it.

To make this happen, click the Place Hold button in the the Library Catalogue record.

Hold is also used to transfer items between branches.  If an item is located at a different branch than yours, placing a Hold on it will automatically initiate a transfer.  You'll be notified when it arrives.

  • Your Library account connects you to a specific branch.  The Library Catalogue only allows you to place a Hold if the book is signed out or at a different branch than the one you're affiliated with.
  • If the Hold feature doesn't permit you to do this, talk to the Service Desk at either branch.

Signing in to your Library account allows you to:

  • view items currently checked out, with due dates
  • renew items online
  • view any outstanding fines
  • place a Hold; view the status of the Hold
Loading