ENGLISH R1B: Bad Writing

Which catalog?

I can search for the content of journal articles in OskiCat.

I can find books from UC Davis and UCLA in Melvyl.

Library catalog history

Keep in mind that when you are searching a library catalog:

  1. You are not searching the full-text of any books. 
  2. 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

Photo of card catalog from OSU Archives on Flickr.

photo of card catalog index card

Photo of card catalog index card by dfulmer on Flickr.

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.

oskicat logo

Use OskiCat to locate materials on the shelves of the UC Berkeley libraries and also to:

melvyl logo

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.

Oskicat Tips

  • Search for author's name using the author search, e.g., Smith, Zadie
  • Combine topics using a keyword search, e.g., banned books and united states
  • 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, you can search for their name and look for "criticism and interpretation:"
  • 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!

Getting Material from NRLF

A large part of the library's collection is stored off campus at the Northern Regional Library Facility [NRLF].

Use the REQUEST button in OskiCat to borrow material at the NRLF. To receive electronic or paper copies of book chapters or journal articles, submit an online request via the "Request an article from NRLF (photocopy or web delivery)" link that appears in eligible titles in OskiCat.

nrlf request button in oskicat

Log in to Request with your Calnet ID and fill out the screens.  Choose the volume you want, for periodicals:

nrlf request item selection

Last Update: August 21, 2013 14:27