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Finding Materials in the Library: Use the Library Catalog

What is the Library Catalog

  Access the library catalog by clicking on CATALOG under QUICK LINKS on the library home page.

The catalog identifies where each book, journal, or other library resource is located -- Electronic Books, Main (circulating) Books, Reference Books, Course Reserves or Special Collections. The record for each will also identify whether it is available in the library or is checked out. If the catalog search is NOT limited to Marymount University, results will include resources from the entire WRLC consortium. [See Borrowing from Other Libraries for how to get resources from a Consortium partner.]

Remember! If you are not sure where to start - ask a librarian for help. Stop by the Reference or Circulation desk OR call, chat or email.

Using the Library Catalog

Step 1:  Enter a topic search term.

Step 2:  Choose how to search term - Common ways are by Keyword, Title, Journal Title or Author. Other options include Subject Heading or Call #.

Step 3:  Limit location (drop down arrow) to Marymount if you want to ONLY find books at MU. "NONE" searches all consortium libraries. WRLC Consortium libraries include: American (AU), Catholic (CU), Galludet (GA), George Mason (GM), George Washington (GW), Georgetown (GT), Howard (HU), and University of District of Columbia (DC).


1 SEARCH FOR  Enter search term or phrase

2 SEARCH AS If search term is a phrase, use drop down to choose whether the words of the phrase are searched as "all of these", "any of these", or "as a phrase."

3 SEARCH IN to select the specific field to search. IF IN DOUBT, CHOOSE KEYWORD!

4 SEARCH COMBINATION Choose AND, OR or NOT for combining multiple search terms.

Title results are cataloged by specific SUBJECTS. After performing a KEYWORD search, find a title that appears to be of particular interest. DETAILS of the catalog results includes a category for SUBJECTS. Click on any of these SUBJECT HEADINGS to find other titles that share the same SUBJECT HEADING. This is especially useful when searching historical periods - for instance, the subject heading for World War II is World War, 1935-1945.

For "Title" searches, common first words like a, an, the, der, la, los, etc. should be excluded. For example, "The Day the Earth Stood Still" should be "Day the Earth Stood Still".

Keywords are automatically separated with AND.

Truncate: Use ? at the end of a word for variations in word endings (e.g., comput? will search for compute, computes, computer, computing, computation, computational, etc.)

Search with an exact phrase: Use quotes (") to search for a phrase like "united states"

Use Journal Title to search for magazines, journals, newspapers or other serials.

Author search enter the last name of the author then the first name or initial - e.g. Vonnegut, K.


Understanding Catalog Results

1 FULL TITLE: Search results in TITLE and KEYWORD searches are shown as a list of titles and call numbers. Click on a TITLE to view more details.

2 LIBRARY: Provides acronym for which library has the specific title. Remember to LIMIT LOCATION to MU if you specifically need a book at MU.

3 DATE: Provides publication date for the title results. Results are listed from most current publication date to the oldest. Click SORT BY PUBLISH DATE to reverse the order from oldest to most recent.

4 CALL NUMBER & AVAILABILITY: The line immediately under the TITLE provides the location of the book, the CALL NUMBER for finding the book, and the AVAILABILITY STATUS of the book. Titles at GM and GT always show NO STATUS - to check status of these books click on the TITLE then on URL/Library Catalog of the title record to check the GM or GT catalog record for availability.

1 TITLES:  Provides the number of TITLES listed by the AUTHOR HEADING to the right.

2 HEADINGS: Provides the results of AUTHOR headings for the search. Some AUTHORS may be listed in more than one way (e.g. Vonnegut, Kurt OR Vonnegut, Kurt Jr.



Ask A Librarian

If you have a question or need help you can use the chat window below, call the reference desk at 703-284-1649 or email us at

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