Searching Library Catalogs
It's often best to start your research by looking for books in the library catalogs. At Berkeley we have two different library catalogs. Oskicat is almost always the best place to start.
Use OskiCat to locate materials on the shelves of the UC Berkeley libraries and also to:
Use Melvyl to locate materials at other campuses in the UC system, or worldwide, and also to
- request materials from another library if we don't own it
- find articles from some article databases
- easily format a citation for copying into a bibliography Melvyl will also show you the location and availablity of items that we own.
Library catalog history
Keep in mind that when you are searching a library catalog:
- You are not searching the full-text of any books.
- You can not find articles in the library catalog.
The library catalog was originally a card catalog such as those pictured below.The online catalog still doesn't contain much more information on a specific book than these index cards did in the past. For this reason you need to be persistent when searching the online catalog. Many important keywords might not appear in the catalog record for a particular book, so make sure you try different synonyms if you don't find any good results at first.
Photo of card catalog from Kent Kanouse on Flickr.
Photo of card catalog index card by dfulmer on Flickr.
- Search for author's name using the author search, e.g., McCarthy, Cormac
- Search for topics using a keyword search, e.g., cliche and author*
- use an asterisk as a wildcard, author* finds authority, authorship, etc.
- Limit results by language (Modify search)
- You can browse topics using the Subject links. To find secondary literature on a particular author, look for "criticism and interpretation" subject links such as these:
- Use My Oskicat to view your library account and renew books
- Use the Request button to:
- page books in NRLF and
- recall books that are checked out
- Be persistent!