The quickest ways to search TOPCAT are by title and author. Use these if you have specific items in mind, like when your Prof recommends a book or an author.
Here's what the homepage of TOPCAT looks like.
Browsing by title is usually the most efficient search, because the title is probably the most unique part of the item you want to find.
When you do this, TOPCAT provides an alphabetical list of ALL titles in the database, starting where your title should appear.
Look for journals, newspapers, and magazines by title, too.
Select the "periodical title" button insead of "title", to limit your search to eliminate books and other non-periodicals.
Even if the item is on Reserve, you can find it with a title browse.
Other ways to find items on Reserve are under the "Reserve" tab.
You can browse a list of subject headings, authors, or series titles. Use the button that applies to your search.
Let's look for a book entitled Castles, battles, & bombs : how economics explains military history.
Give it a try yourself. Link to TOPCAT.
The results show us the list of titles, starting with the closest match.
Now we see that they're the same book, but one is an e-book and the other is print.
Try searching for the title of any other book you can think of, to get some practice.
You can also search for a title by keyword. It's not as specific as a browse, but it's useful if you don't know the correct title exactly.
You'll be shown a list of all the items in TOPCAT with that word somewhere in the title.
The results look different from a browse search:
You can shorten the list of results by entering several search terms with "and" between them. TOPCAT will find titles that include all the words you enter.
Example: grass and grows and rivers
The Keyword Searching tutorial provides more detail on joining search terms. It's the next tutorial you should read, but there's a link below in case you want to peek at it now.
Look through the results and click on items that look useful to find out more about them.
We can find every item in the library with the word "castles" in the title.
The results include over 151 titles with the term "castles" in them. They're shown in order of date, with the most recently added first.
Try some other keyword title searches. Either look for a book you already know exists, or just enter a few keywords, click title, and see what you find.
Look for journals by title, too. Remember to use the journal title, not the article title - because TOPCAT isn't specific enough to list individual articles within journals.
Enter some keywords and search for periodical titles, to see what you can find.