Searching and Using the Catalog
How can I narrow down search results?
When you execute a search, the column to the left of your results will provide options for refining your search. Limiting location to "Allen Music Library" and limiting by format are especially helpful in dealing with music items. The "show more" link, if present, will expand the list to show all options.
If you enter a very broad search term, the Library of Congress subject headings can also be helpful in narrowing down results to the type of items you're looking for. For example, a search for "Mozart" will turn up thousands of items, and even limiting format to "Books" will not help much. Further limiting by topics like History and criticism or Interpretation, or genres like Biography or Correspondence, can help you find the type of book you're looking for.
How do I search just for items in the Music Library?
In addition to limiting by location after doing a search as described above, you can also go to Advanced Search mode, scroll down to the “Location" pull-down menu and select “Allen Music Library." It’s as simple as that!
How do I search just for a CD or a score?
In Advanced Search mode, scroll down to the “Format" pull-down menu, and select the appropriate format.
There is no good way to exclude items from a search (to search for everything except for scores, for example). The best way is to pick the most general acceptable format for your search.
How do I browse through a list of CDs?
In Advanced Search mode, click on “Option 3: Search lists of titles, call numbers, etc." For CDs, DVDs, LPs, etc. use the “Call Number, Local/Other" option, and type in a call number. To browse a complete list of CDs, for example, type “CD 1". The catalog will display all of our CDs, in order, starting from CD 1.
Note that this option works for all items in the library, not just recordings. If you want to browse the ML410 (biographies) section of our stacks from home, use The “Call Number, LC" option and type “ML410."
How can I tell whether an item is a recording or a score?
In your list of search results (the first screen you’ll see after you enter your search), each result has an icon and a discription (book, sound, score, etc.)
In order to distinguish between similar formats, such as LP and CD sound recordings, the call number prefix will generally tell you (CD for CDs, Rec for LP records, etc.). For items not yet fully cataloged you will need to click on the item and look at the "Format" section of the record.
How do I search for journal articles?
This question is treated in more detail on our page on finding articles.
I sometimes see references to OCLC. What exactly is that?
Founded in 1967, OCLC (Online Computer Library Center) is a nonprofit, membership, computer library service and research organization dedicated to the public purposes of furthering access to the world's information and reducing information costs. Members include college and university libraries, community colleges, public and private elementary and high schools, technical libraries, business libraries, special research institutions, museums, and national libraries such as the United States Library of Congress.
OCLC and its members cooperatively produce and maintain WorldCat—the OCLC Online Union Catalog. WorldCat is the world's largest bibliographic database, and is comprised of the merged catalogs of thousands of OCLC member libraries. More than 53,548 libraries in 96 countries and territories around the world use OCLC services to locate, acquire, catalog, lend and preserve library materials. Over 7,000 member libraries utilize OCLC for processing their InterLibrary Loan requests.