There are two ways to search for resources in the Library: the Library search engine on the library home page, and the Classic catalogue. This guide explains how to use the Classic catalogue. For more information on using Library search, see the guide here. Both Library search and the Classic catalogue can be used to search for print and online materials in the Library. However, it is not possible to use the Classic catalogue to search for journal articles.
There are two ways of accessing the Classic catalogue; from dedicated terminals within the Library (these have black screens and there are some on most floors) or from the internet, by going to http://serlib0.essex.ac.uk/. The only difference between these versions of the catalogue is that some of the interactive features, such as renewing books, requesting items which are out on loan, booking short loans and accessing online reading lists are only available from the internet version.
On either version, you will start from a main menu, which lists various types of searches (when using the terminals, you may need to press any key to get to this menu).
To look for a particular item, the most direct search to use is Title. Enter several words from the title
(TIP: you don't need to enter the complete title, just enough to narrow down your search. For example, for a book entitled "Economics and policy : a historical study"Â, you could just enter "Economics"Â or "Economics and pol"Â but entering "Economics and pol" will bring up a much shorter list of titles to look through).
You can also look books up by Author, by entering the surname and then the first name or initials (for example, "Shakespeare, W" or "Shakespeare, William" although you do not need to use capitals as the system is not sensitive to case). In most cases, however, the title of a book is a more unique identifier than the author.
The Author/Title search is useful when looking for items for which you do not have a complete reference, as you can enter the surname of the author, and then some keywords which you think may appear in the title. This search is also useful when looking for items with common titles, such as selected poems, or complete works, as you can narrow it down to the complete works of a particular author, rather than looking through a list of all the complete works in the Library.
Periodicals (or journals) are listed by title in the catalogue, and can be found by using either the Title or Periodical Title searches. The Library does not index the contents of its periodicals; to find articles on a particular subject you will need to use Library search or an indexing and abstracting database (see the Electronic Resource and Database Menu for further information). Some copies of periodical articles, especially those from journals not held in the Library, are kept behind the Service Desk downstairs. These can be found by searching for the title or author in the catalogue.
To find items on a particular subject, use the Keywords search option. If you enter one or more words which describe your subject, the catalogue will return a list of books which contain your terms, either in the title or in the assigned subject headings. (see also the section on Subject Headings below). Truncation and Boolean operators can be used as part of this search, to broaden or narrow your results set. More information on this is available from the Keywords search screen.
Two of the remaining options from the main menu relate to the way in which the Library categorises information to help you find it. The Classmark search enables you to search for an item using the alphanumeric code assigned to it by the Library. This code relates to a wider scheme (in the case of this Library, the Library of Congress Classification Scheme) in which subjects are assigned a combination of letters and numbers.
The idea behind this is that items on similar subjects will be grouped together, and that there will be a logical progression from one set of items to the next. For example, books relating to history have classmarks beginning with the letter D. Within this division, books relating to the history of Great Britain all begin with the letters DA. Within this subdivision, books relating to early history will have a lower number than those relating to more modern history. This is of benefit when browsing the shelves.
The Classmark search on the catalogue can work as a kind of virtual browse; if you know the code or classmark for a book on a specific topic you are interested in, you can search under that classmark to find all the other books which have the same one.
Likewise, most items in the catalogue have been assigned one or more subject headings, which relate to the topic and focus of the item. These subject headings also come from the Library of Congress, and are controlled in such a way that items on similar subjects will have the same headings. Again, if you know the subject headings for a particular item, you can search for that heading to find other books which share it. In the internet version of the catalogue, all subject headings appear as links, so you can easily see other items which have the same headings just by clicking on them.
Regardless of which type of search you are using, once you have entered your terms, you will come to a results screen. This may take the form of a catalogue record of a specific item, or of a list of items from which you can select a record to view. If your search has been unsuccessful, you will still get one of these lists, called a browse list, with an indication of where your terms would have appeared if they had been present. You can look at as many records from a browse list as you like, by moving from item to item and back to the list .
(TIP: look for the commands at the bottom of the screen. On the terminals, you can use F for Forward and B for Back to move through a list, and R to Return to Browsing. On the internet version, click on Prev and Next, or the Return to List button.)
To begin a new search at any time, click the Start Over button (on the internet version) or press N for New search (on the terminal version).
Once you have found an item that you are interested in, there are several important things to note. The classmark is at the top of each record - you must make a note of this in order to locate the item on the shelves. The catalogue record provides information about the author, title, publication details and physical description of the item.
(TIP: when compiling bibliographies, you can use this publication information from the catalogue).
The Shelved At and Availability information is also essential for locating items in the Library. This information is contained in a box, at the bottom of each record.
The Shelved At information shows where in the Library the item can be found. Most often, this will read Floor X; this means that the item can be found in the main sequence which runs from floors 2-5 of the Library. If the item can only be borrowed for seven days, the Shelved At information will Student Collection (7 day loan). These items are available from the First Floor of the Library.
Here are some other locations which appear as Shelved At information:
Atlases - These items are shelved on the first floor.
DVD (Floor 5) - You can browse DVDs on Floor 5. Ask at the Service Desk to borrow a particular DVD.
Folio - These items are larger than most of the other books and so are shelved separately. There are Folio sections on each of the floors, covering the relevant classmarks.
Microfilm or Microfiche - These are kept in cabinets on the first floor, and can be requested from staff at the Inter-Library Loans desk.
Pamphlet - These items are kept in a closed store, but can be requested by any Library user. Fill in the item details using an online Store request form, or one of the blue slips available from the Service Desk.
Reference - These items are shelved on the relevant floor for the particular classmark and generally cannot be borrowed. Items in this section are usually dictionaries, encyclopaedias, directories or bibliographies.
Short loan - These items are shelved in the Short Loan section on the ground floor and can only be borrowed for four hours at a time or overnight. If the classmark for a short loan item begins XD, this means it is a photocopy. These can be requested from the Service Desk by number.
Special Collections Room - These items are part of a Special Collection held in the Library. They can be requested using the grey slips available from the Service Desk. There are also other named Special Collections (such as Russell, ESAH, Spitzer etc.) which will appear on the catalogue under these names and can be requested in the same way.
Store A or C - These items are kept in a closed store, but can be requested by any Library user. Fill in the item details using an online Store request form, or one of the blue slips available from the Service Desk.
Videorecording (3 day loan) - These items are kept in a closed store, and can be requested using the online Store request form, or one of the blue slips available from the Service Desk.
Videotape Circ Desk (Short Loan) - These items are kept behind the Service Desk, and can be requested from there by number.
Videotape (Store A) - These items are kept in a closed store and can be requested using the online Store request form, or one of the blue slips available from the Service Desk.
See: Shelved At Locations for a complete listing.
On the internet version of the catalogue, the Shelved At information usually appears as a hyperlink which can be followed to find out more about where the book is located and how to get hold of it.
The default option for Availability is in IN LIBRARY. This means the item should be on the shelves at the relevant classmark. If instead it reads DUE followed by a date, this means the item is out on loan and is due for return on the date indicated. Items on loan can be requested by other users, either by completing a white card (available from the Service Desk) or by clicking the Request button either at the top or the bottom of the record on the internet version of the catalogue.
Sometimes the Availability may read RESERVED. This means that someone has requested the item, and it is waiting for them to collect it from the Service Desk. It is possible to look at items which are RESERVED, and to photocopy from them within the Short Loan area, but they must subsequently be returned to the Service Desk. Another possible Availability option is NOT LOANABLE, which means that the item will be on the shelf but cannot be borrowed. Other Availability options include MISSING, SEARCHING, BILLED, CL RETURNED. All of these options mean that the item is missing from the shelf, and that procedures have been instituted by the Library either to find the item, or to acquire a replacement.
The classmark, Shelved At and Availability options in combination are what you need to locate any given item in the Library. To find out which classmarks are on which floors, you can consult the floor guides on the landings and in each of the paternoster cars. There is also a large version of this on the ground floor. The basic division is as follows:
Classmarks A-DA, Q-V are on Floor 2 and cover the subjects areas General Works, Philosophy, Psychology, Psychoanalysis, Theology, Science (General), Maths, Computer Science, Electronic Systems Engineering, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Nursing and Health Sciences
Classmarks DB-HJ are on Floor 3 and cover the subjects areas History, Geography, Social Science (General), Statistics, Economics, Economic History, Commerce, Finance
Classmarks HM-K are on Floor 4 and cover the subject areas Sociology, Social History, Political Science, Human Rights, European Documentation Centre, Law
Classmarks L-P, Z are on Floor 5 and cover the subject areas Education, Music, Art, Linguistics, Language, Literature, Bibliography
In addition to the searching methods outlined above, there is another way in which to find items. The reading lists are available online see: http://readinglists.essex.ac.uk/. These reading lists can be accessed from the page above or direct from your Moodle course page
Another useful feature of the catalogue is the My account option (this is called View your circulation record on the terminal version). By entering your University username and password (or your name and Pr-ID on the terminal version), you can see which items you have out on loan, and when they are due back. You can also see if any books you have requested are ready for you to pick up (although the Library will also contact you to tell you when this is the case). On the internet version of the catalogue, you can also use this option to renew books, provided that you do not have any fines outstanding on your record and that they have not been requested by another user. You can also set up preferred searches and check which books you have borrowed in the past.
It is possible to mark and export a list of catalogue records from the internet version of the catalogue. You may wish to do this if you are searching the catalogue from home and you wish to create a list of books to look for next time you come into the Library. Alternatively you may wish to export a group of records into a bibliographic reference management tool such as EndNote.
Once you have found a record, or group of records that you want to add to a list for export, you can mark them, either from a browse list or at the individual record level. On browse lists, a check box is present in the column to the left of each title.
To mark an individual item, click in the box next to it. When you
have marked all the records you are interested in from that particular browse
list, click the button at the bottom or top of the list which says
Add Marked to Bag. You can also choose to mark all the records in the list at once by
clicking the button Add All On Page. When either of these buttons have been
clicked, two more buttons will appear at the top and the bottom of the screen on
the right hand side. The first button, View Bag, gives you the chance to view
and export the list of records you have marked. The second button,
Empty Bag, will clear your list of marked records so that you can start again.
To mark a record at the individual record level, click on the button, Add to Bag This will add the record to your saved list, and brings up the two extra buttons for viewing and emptying the list.
When you have added all the records you are interested in to your saved list, click the View Bagbutton. At this stage, you have the option to remove any records from the list, if you have added them in error, or have changed your mind, by clicking in the check box next to the title and then clicking the button Delete Selected. There are five formats in which you can export the records. The first, Full Display, exports all of the information in the catalogue record. The second, Brief Display, only exports the classmark and title of each item. The third and fourth options relate to formats suitable for subsequently exporting the records into the bibliographic reference management programs ProCite and EndNote/RefWorks respectively. The fifth option relates to a format used with the Library world for sharing records, MARC.
You can also choose whether to e-mail the records to yourself in your chosen format, or to save them. To e-mail the records, fill in the e-mail address you would like them to be sent to and click Submit. To save the records, click the radio button next to Local Disk and click Submit. A dialogue box will then appear asking you whether you would like to open the file or save it to your computer. Click on Save and then choose the drive you want. Whether you have emailed or saved the list, you then need to clear it by clicking the Empty Bag button at the top of the screen. This will take you back into the main catalogue.
Help is available from within both versions of the catalogue. On the terminal version, press I for Library INFORMATION at the main menu. This takes you to a list of options, each providing information about a different aspect of using the catalogue. To reach the same information from the internet version of the catalogue, click on Help Topics. There are also links to the relevant sections of this information from within the search screens.