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University of Liverpool Library Catalogue: Help Centre

You are ready to search the University of Liverpool Library Catalogue

Here is help on how to get the best from the Library Catalogue:

For help with 'My Library Record': Some things you can do with 'My Library' see the Help Centre for 'My Library Record'.

What's in the Library Catalogue

The Library Catalogue is our complete database of the books and journals, print and electronic, and of other materials such as films and music scores held by the University Library. It includes all material from the Sydney Jones and Harold Cohen Libraries, Special Collections and Archives including the Science Fiction Collection, the Veterinary Teaching Hospital (Leahurst) Library, the Donald Mason Library of the School of Tropical Medicine and the Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory (POL) Library. Material in the Library of the Careers Resource Centre of the University's Careers & Employability Service and in SOCLAS Library and in the Confucius Institute is included as well.


The Library Catalogue does not usually include any information about individual articles in journals (except for material in the Science Fiction Collection, some recommended articles on Reading Lists and the POL offprint collection). If you want to extend your search to find information in individual journal articles or conference papers etc. you should use Discover.


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From the first Search the Library Catalogue screen, choose the index you want to search from the drop-down menu (Title, Keyword, Author or Subject) and in the empty box type what you are looking for. You can limit your search to items in particular sections of the Library (for example Electronic books or Special Collections and Archives) by using the right hand drop-down menu. You'll see these search boxes and drop-down menus at the top of each screen as you search the catalogue and you'll also be able to sort your results and limit your search in various ways.

From the 'More Searches' menu on the right of the Search the Library Catalogue screen you can find these and several other different ways to search the Catalogue. When you make your choice from 'More searches' you will also find more detailed examples showing you how to get the best out of each search:

Title Search

Title Search looks for the title of a book, a journal or a film etc.only. You need to know at least the first word(s) in your title. Title Search assumes your word(s) are at the start of the title. If you don’t know the first words but do know some of the words in the title you want, try a Keyword Search or an Author and Title Combined Search.

Keyword Search

A Keyword Search looks for words that occur in all parts of the catalogue record including the title, author, publisher and subject. It's the most comprehensive search available. Choose Keyword Search from the 'More searches' option and you will see full instructions on ways you can make your search more effective (wildcards, truncation, proximity, etc.). More about Keyword searching...

Advanced Keyword Search

Advanced Keyword Search also looks for words that occur in all parts of the catalogue record including the title, author, publisher and subject. It's also the most comprehensive search available but in addition it lets you choose from drop-down menus the fields you want to find your keywords in and restrict your search in other ways. Choose Advanced Keyword Search from the 'More searches' option and you will see full instructions on ways you can make your search more effective. More about Keyword searching...

Author Search

Author Search looks for the name of the person who has created or edited the work. Type in the last name of your author first. Authors can also be government bodies or organisations.

Author and Title Combined Search

Author and Title Combined Search looks for an author's (last) name in combination with any of the words in the title. It is particularly useful if you aren’t sure of the full title details. Try 'hawking' in author and 'time' in title to see how it works.

Subject Search

Subject Search looks for subject headings which tell you what the book is about. It also finds books about people or organisations.

Class Number Search

Class Number Search looks for the Library of Congress class number and shows you all the books on the same subject at the same Class Number. You'll need to use the Class Number (Local Collections) Search for books and print journals that aren't in the main collections.

Class Number (Local Collections) Search

Class Number (Local Collections) Search looks for the local University of Liverpool class numbers and shows you all the books at the same Class Number. Local Collections class numbers include the Engineering collection in the Harold Cohen Library, the Law collection in the Sydney Jones Library, the Library's Special Collections, the Donald Mason Library collection and some of the books in our Store sequences. You'll need to use the Class Number Search for books and print journals that are in the main collections.

ISBN / ISSN Search

ISBN / ISSN Search looks for the international standard book number or, in the case of journals, for the international standard serial number.


Another Search Another Search

When you are looking at the results of your search you will see the option 'Another Search' towards the top right of your screen. Click on 'Another Search' for a new search box to let you start the same type of search you have just done (with some search examples). Or you can just type into the search boxes with drop-down menus at the top of your screen to set up a new search. Or from the drop-down menu of 'More Searches' on the right of the screen you can start another search of any description.


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Keyword Search and Advanced Keyword Search

When you know the title you are looking for, choose a Title search to find it quickly. But if you don't have the precise details to hand, Keyword Search and Advanced Keyword Search are powerful searches to find in the catalogue items relevant to the words (keywords) you have to hand.

Keyword Search lets you type in the words you are looking for - you can modify the search afterwards if it doesn't come up with the right results. Advanced Keyword Search proposes a number of ways you can limit your selection beforehand: You can choose in advance which fields of the catalogue record you want your word(s) to appear in, select Boolean operators and limit your results to parts of the Library and types of material. You can restrict your search to certain dates and publishers.

After you've done a Keyword Search or an Advanced Keyword Search and you begin to look at what you've found you can make use of another feature: More Like This More Like This:

When you click on 'More Like This', the catalogue will complete a word search of all the subject keywords in whatever record you are looking at and will offer you the result, all the records which have the same subject words.

Multiple Words and Phrase Searches

If you type more than one word the search will automatically supply the Boolean "and" operator between each word; the words entered in your search will all occur somewhere in the retrieved records though not necessarily in the order entered. Both these examples will retrieve the same results.


history of time
history and of and time  both retrieve thousands of records

You search for complete phrases by enclosing your phrase in quotation marks. Words enclosed in double quotes will appear together in all results exactly as typed.


"history of time"  retrieves far fewer records all of which have your phrase exactly.


Wildcards are * and ?  

*   Matches any number of non-space characters, starting at the specified position in the word. For example, "comput*" will match all words that begin with "comput" (e.g., "computer", "computation", etc.).
The '*' wildcard may also be embedded in a search string.

?   You can use a question mark ('?') to replace a single character anywhere within a word.

Boolean Operators

Use AND or OR to specify multiple words in any field, any order. Use AND NOT to exclude words. Select the operator you wish to use from the selection list on the Advanced Search form.


spain and portugal   gives you a few hundred records, with both words in each
spain or portugal  gives thousands of records, with either spain or portugal
spain and not portugal   gives slightly fewer thousands of records, none of which have 'portugal', but be careful - you've probably lost some important ones about Spain!


Use 'near' to specify words close to each other, in any order. Use 'within n' to specify words which occur within n words of each other. Parentheses group words together.

Field Limits

In Advanced Keyword Search you can choose to limit any of your word(s) to have them appear in a specific 'field' of the record by selecting a field from the drop-down menu (Any Field or Author or Title or Subject or Note). You can do this in Keyword Search too but you have to type in your field. A field limit causes the system to search only the specified field for the specified word(s).

Field Limits and their meanings:

  • Author: The word(s) you want will only appear in 'author'
  • Title: The word(s) you want will only appear in 'title'
  • Subject: The word(s) you want will only appear in 'subjects'
  • Note: The word(s) you want will only appear in the 'more information' fields


'gabriel' in author and 'solitude' in title   gives you a very precise result!


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Presenting the Results of Your Keyword(s) search

The results of your Keyword(s) search are sorted to show you as conveniently as possible the titles that best match what you are looking for. There are up to 5 sets of titles (not all will be delivered each time; it depends on your search).

But if you'd prefer your results in either alphabetic order of their titles or in date order (starting with the latest), click on either date or title in the line '... results found. sorted by relevance | date | title' to change the order to the one you prefer. Subsequent 'word' searches in the same session will keep that order until you change it.

Here is a brief description of the way your results are delivered in up to 5 sets of titles (not all will be delivered each time; it depends on your search):

  • Title matchesThese titles seem to be the best match for your word(s). All the titles listed match the word(s) you searched for. The system assumes this is the best match it can offer you
  • Part of title matchesYour word(s) are in part of these titles. The word(s) you searched for appear in these further titles but on the whole not quite as prominently as in the first set.
  • Very relevantThese titles seem very relevant to what you are looking for. Treating your word(s) as a subject-focused search rather than just a title search, these are the most relevant titles the system can find. They should be very relevant to what you are looking for.
  • RelevantThese titles should be relevant to what you are looking for. Treating your word(s) as a subject-focused search rather than a title search, these are other relevant titles the system can find. These titles should still be relevant to what you are looking for.
  • Other relevantThese titles may be relevant to what you are looking for. Treating your word(s) as a subject-focused search rather than a title search, this set should catch any other titles that may be useful

You can see how many entries are in the set you are looking at. Use the 'Locate in results' box at the foot of the page to jump to the start of the next set; or navigate from page to page (there are up to 50 titles on each page) - the top of the page always tells you which set you are looking at.


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Where To Find Things

Look for 'Location' and 'Class No.' when you see the results of your search. Together they tell you where to find what you are looking for. Each Location is an active link to the Library's Find items in the Library page which tells you where to find things.


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Request: Place a Hold on an Item if It’s On Loan and Not Available Request

When you are looking at the results of your search one by one you will see the option to 'Request' appearing at the top of the record you are viewing. 'Request' allows you to place a hold on any item that is unavailable because it has been borrowed by someone else. After you click on 'Request' you are asked to identify yourself by logging in (as you do to view 'My Library Record').

When your Request is successful you see a message: 'Your request for...was successful. You will be able to pick up this material at ...[the Library where the item will be returned]... when it is ready.'

When you return to display the record for the item you requested you will see that your hold has been recorded: e.g. '1 hold on first copy returned of 1 copy' (or if there are other holds already it will have been added to the queue).

You can see your holds when you view 'My Library Record' and you can cancel any of your holds whenever you want.

You cannot make requests for material that is available (not on loan or for use in the Library only or available electronically). When you identify yourself you would be told: 'Sorry, request cannot be accepted. Copy is available'. Occasionally however, for example if you are going to have to choose the item you want from different volumes of a book or journal, you will have to log-in before you see a message which tells you that copy/copies are not available to request.

A note on holds for material needed urgently. Please note that this service delivers the hold for you only when the present borrower returns the item; it won't be recalled to the Library. If you need something more urgently you should fill in a reservation card available in the Library and hand it in at a Library Service Desk. Library staff will then recall the item for you.


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Preferred Searches: Save Your Searches Preferred Searches

If you want to use the same catalogue search again, you can save the search with the click of a button. This will prevent you from having to type it each time and you can have it run automatically for you once a week and a list of new books matching your search will be emailed to you.

How to:

  1. Log in to 'My Library Record'.
  2. Click on the 'New Search' button.
  3. Search whatever you want. You can create an Advanced Keyword Search where you can include limits to material type, language, publication year, etc.
  4. When your results are displayed, click the button marked 'Save search for future use'.
  5. The next time that you log in to 'My Library Record', you can click the 'Preferred Searches' button to see a list of your saved searches.
  6. Click on the 'Search' link associated with any of your preferred searches in the list and your search will be quickly executed for you again, finding any new items that have been added to the catalogue as well as the ones you found before.
  7. You can be alerted to new materials added to the Library which match your searches. Just check the 'Mark for Email' box against any or all of your searches and make sure that 'My Library Record' includes your current email address. The search will be run for you early on Monday mornings and the results will be emailed to you.
  8. If you want to save a new search and you have reached the limit of saved searches, you will need to 'Mark to Remove' one or more of your existing searches. Click on 'Update' to complete the removal of marked search(es).


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RSS Feeds: Keep Up-To-Date With What's Been Added to the Library in Your Subject RSS Feeds for new books added to the Library

You can subscribe to RSS feeds that will keep you up to date with what has been added to the Library, both materials in print and electronic items. To make your choice from feeds that are available with information on how to subscribe go to the New in the Library section of the Library's RSS Feeds page.



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Exporting Records You Have Found in the Catalogue: 'Add to My Bag' Save selected records for exporting in various formats


if you just want to keep a note of records that interest you without exporting them you can use My Lists: a Record of Items of Interest in 'My Library Record'.


You can create a list of selected bibliographic records while searching the catalogue. You can save a single record, or a list of records (up to 2000 records) by marking them as you go along. Then you can export them by email or by downloading them.

How to:

  1. As you see the results of your searches the option 'Add Marked to Bag' appears.
  2. If you are viewing a list of more than one record mark the box(es) of records you want to keep for export: click on the empty box beside the record(s).
  3. You also have the option to 'Add All on Page' which lets you save all the records listed on the page of the catalogue you are looking at.
  4. If you are viewing just one record you don't have to mark it first. Instead of 'Add Marked to Bag' you are invited to 'Add to bag'. Click on 'Add to Bag' to add the single record.
  5. As soon as you have marked or added any records you'll see new icons: 'View Bag' - click to see what's in your bag. And, 'Empty Bag'. 'Empty Bag' removes all your saved records - you can start a new bag!
  6. When you 'View Bag' you can delete some or all of the records from the bag.
  7. When you have finished searching and are ready to export your records you click on 'View Bag'. Choose the format in which you want to save the records you have chosen for 'Your Bag': useful formats supported are full or brief record displays or export to Pro-Cite and End-Note/Ref Works. Choose how you want to export your records: You can just display them on the screen but you will probably prefer to choose to email them to yourself or to save them to one of your local drives. When you have marked the boxes for your export choices, click on 'Submit'.
  8. Once you have exported your records click on 'Empty Bag' to start again. Your bag will be cleared anyway when you leave the catalogue.


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