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Online Catalog Tutorials - Understanding Results

Introduction, Instructions:

This tutorial is intended to give you an explanation of the results retrieved after searching the LSU Libraries Online Catalog.

This is a text-only printer-friendly version of the Online Catalog - Understanding Results Tutorial. It does not include picture examples provided in the primary version of this tutorial.

The LSU Libraries' online catalog may be searched via the "Basic Search" box on the Libraries Home Page, or by going to the Online Catalog Advanced Search Screen. There are two tutorials that cover how to search the online catalog, Basic Searching and Advanced Searching. Help in understanding how to build effective search statements may be found in the Building Search Statements Tutorial.

This is great, but once you know how to search for materials, what do you do with your results? This tutorial will look closely at the results screens returned once searches have been submitted to the online catalog. You get a lot of information, and have a number of different options for what to do with your results. Working through this tutorial should help you to better understand and use the results you searched so hard for!

Search Results:

After you have submitted a search, using either the Advanced Search or the Basic Search options, you will see a results screen much like the image to the right. The "Search Results" area is where you first find information about the results of your search. For more information about the upper portion of the page, see the Advanced Searching tutorial.

The "Search Results" area tells you what you searched and how many results you got. In this example (from the Advanced Searching tutorial) you had the first name of an author (Anne), but could not remember the last name, and she wrote about vampires. With this search, the online catalog found 18 items, or "titles."

Finally, you see your results list. This list gives brief information about each item which fit your search.

Brief Record:

In the first item in the results list, start on the left side and work across the record:

  • #1 - Each gives you a record number to show where you are in your results list. This is #1 out of the 18 search results.
  • Details - Click the "Details" box to see the full record, or all of the available information on that item.
  • Keep - Clicking on this box will mark or "keep" that record for you. Once clicked it the button changes to "Remove." If you change your mind, just click on the "Remove" button. As you work through a list of results, "keep" those which are of the most interest to you. Then go up to the purple navigation bar and click "Kept" to see only those items you marked to keep. You can then print, save or e-mail that list.
  • PS3568 .I265 B63 2003 - The call number
  • Blood canticle - The title
  • 1st ed. - Edition information, if available. Not all results have edition information
  • Rice, Anne, 1941- - The author followed by year of their birth. If the author is no longer living, you might also see the year of death. Some living authors will not have years of birth available.
  • 2003 - The year of publication

Often you find your results list is too long to be of use, or you do not find the information you need. In such cases, you need to try another search, or "refine" your search. If you scroll down the results screen, under the results list you find a search box like the one on the advanced search page. In this case, the search box already has your last search entered. You can easily adjust your previous search, or clear it and start over.

Complete Record:

Back to our results list...
If the results list gives a brief record for items, there must be more information somewhere, right? Click the "Full Details" button to see the record.

When a new item comes into the library system, a record is created for it in the online catalog (for more information on databases, records and fields, see the Online Catalog Basic Searching Tutorial). When the record is created, there are very specific pieces of information, or fields, which must be included. That information is what the "Catalog Record" shows.

  • Personal Author - person who wrote or created the item.
  • Title - Title of the item.
  • Edition - Edition information, if available. This is the 1st edition, but other items, like text books, often have 2, 3 or even up to 10 editions.
  • Publication info - Who published it, where the publisher is located, and when it was published.
  • Physical descrip - What it looks like - how many pages it has, the size of the book, if it has illustrations. If this were some other media, like a computer file or a video tape, you would see that information here.
  • Series - This item is one of a series, The Vampire Chronicles.
  • Subject term - What it is about. Some items will have more than one subject terms listed.
  • Contributors - Other authors, or anyone who "contributed" to the work, like a photographer... This is a common field, but is not found in this particular record.

Notice that some of the text of this record is purple and some is black. Any field which is purple is actually a link, just like any link on any web page. If you click on it, it will take you someplace else. Here clicking the record links will submit a new search to the online catalog and find items similar to the current one.

  • Click the author, you get all items by that author.
  • Click the title, you get any other records for this title. Often this might be the only one, but sometimes we have different editions which will have different records.
  • Click on the series title (Vampire Chronicles in this case) and the catalog will find all items LSU Libraries has which are pare of the series.
  • Click on one of the subject terms to find more items with the same subject. If you like vampires, click on "Vampires--Fiction" to find other works of fiction about vampires.

This is one of the most powerful features of a web-based, online catalog. The ability to link easily between similar items, and items which have the potential to be similar in so many different ways can be a great help and time saver.

Holdings - Shows how many copies of the item are owned by LSU Libraries, where you will find them, and what they are. In this case, there are two "items" and they are "books," but they are found in different places. First:
  • Middleton Library (Main Collection) - LSU Libraries includes several unique libraries. This book is found in the main collection in Middleton Library.
  • PS3568 .I265 B63 2003 - The call number. This is what you will use to actually find the book. The call number determines how items are arranged and where they will be found on the shelf. For more information on call numbers see the Call Numbers and Interpretation Tutorial
  • Items - How many are there, in this location. For this item there is one found in Middleton Library's main collection. If there were multiple copies, the number of copies would be found here.
  • Material - What exactly is it? LSU Libraries has items in many different formats including electronic books, CD ROMs, DVDs, albums, pamphlets, globes, and just about anything you could think of. This item is a "book"
  • Location - Where is it? This particular book was checked out at the time this tutorial was built. That can be a good thing to notice, BEFORE you run upstairs to find it! If this item had not been checked out it would have said "Stacks." If an item were kept at a special place or in a special collection, this is where you would find out. Items could be in atlas stands, on the new book shelf, at the reference desk, or a number of different places.
  • Call Number Location -This link is to a guide of where particular call numbers and locations may be found.

  • Special Collections, Hill Memorial Library - This book is in Special Collections, Hill Memorial Library. Hill Memorial Library is where LSU Libraries keeps "special" things. Sometimes they are rare or valuable, sometimes they are groups or collections of items. Whatever they are, these items are available, you won't be able to check them out, but you can use them. Just remember to note what collection they belong to (listed under "location") and the call number.
  • PS3568 .I265 B63 2003 - The call number, same as the first item.
  • Items - There is one copy of this item in Hill Memorial Library's Special Collections.
  • Material - Still a book
  • Call Number Location - This book is kept in the Louisiana & Lower Mississippi Valley Collections (LLMVC). The LLMVC is one of the unique collections of materials found in Hill Memorial Library.
On Complete Record page there is a small box to the left.
  • Keep - This works the same as the "Keep" button in the Brief Record. Clicking it marks the record so that you may collect only those records of interest to you for printing or downloading.
  • Place Hold - If the item has been checked out, as this one has, you can place a "hold" on it. Once the item is returned you will be notified and it will be held at Circulation for you. When you click "Place hold," you will be asked for your "user ID" (the 17 digit number on your Tiger Card/LSU ID), or your "Alternate ID (your Social Security number), and your "PIN." All PINs are pre-set to "changeme" until you change it.
  • Items on the same shelf - When you click this link you will be taken to a list of items, by call number, which have call numbers adjacent to the call number for this item. Items with similar call numbers should be of similar subject matter. For more information on Call Numbers and how they work, see the Call Numbers and Interpretation Tutorial

This tutorial is a guide to understanding and using the results you have gotten after searching the LSU Libraries' Online Catalog. Keep in mind that your results are only useful if you first understand how the catalog searches and have used effective searching strategies.

For an introduction to how the online catalog works, go to the "Basic Searching" tutorial.

There are a number of ways you can "refine" your searches, to make them more specific or effective. To learn about those techniques, work through the "Building Search Statements" tutorial, and the "Advanced Searching" tutorial.

For all of these options, go to the Online Catalog Tutorials home page.

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