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Using the Library Catalog (BobCat)  

Information and tips to searching for material in the online catalog
Last Updated: Mar 8, 2016 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates
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Library FAQ


    Boolean Logic Refresher

    AND, OR, and NOT diagrams

    (We recommend caution when using NOT. It's easy to throw out the good with the bad.)

    Most databases list which Boolean operators are available.
    "AND" is often implicit if you place terms next to each other.
    Look for "Search Help" or "Tools" to find details on Boolean operators or other idiosyncrasies of that particular database.


    Tips on Searching the Catalog

    • If the first results screen shows "Available (GetIt)" then the item should be available at one of the Consortium libraries.  If it shows "Check Availability" then it may already be checked out. Follow the title links for any items you are interested in to see locations and circulation status (whether an item is checked out or not, when it is due back, etc.).
    • If an item is checked out, you can request that it be returned specifically for your use. Use the "Login for Request Options" link, then follow the instructions on screen.
    • Generally, you will not find specific articles from journals or conferences in the catalog. For that, use one of the article databases. In those databases, some full text articles are included, but often your search results will contain citations and abstracts without full text. For instructions on how to find an article from a citation, see the research guide Finding an Article or Book from a Citation.
    • By default, search terms are connected with a Boolean AND. You can also use OR and NOT if you enter them in ALL CAPS.
    • Searches are not case sensitive.
    • You can easily switch between searching the holdings of The Cooper Union Library, the entire Consortium, and Course Reserves without re-entering search terms. Just switch the search tab. NOTE: Limits in the drop down menus below the seach box, such as Title or Journal, must be re-entered.
      • Don't give up if you don't get any results. Think of synonyms and related terms, and try again.

      Search the Catalog


      Refining Your Results

      • The default search is a keyword search for your query words wherever they may appear in the record. If you get too many results, try limiting the search to a specific field, such as title or subject.
      • You can also search for an exact phrase instead of keywords. The exact phrase search is equivalent to putting quotes around your query words. Use the drop-down menu below the search box.
      • You can refine your results using the categories to the left on the initial results screen. For example, refine by subject, call number group, or resource type.
      • To sort a result list so that the most recent publications are at the top, change the drop-down sort at the top of the results list from relevance to date-newest.

      Electronic Resources in the Catalog

      • Some, but not all, e-books and e-journals provided by the libraries have records in the main catalog. See also the E-Journals and Databases tabs in BobCat, the CU Library website, and the Consortium libraries' sites for links to many other electronic resources.

        NOTE: Some electronic resources are free and publicly available, and some are licensed by one or more of the libraries in our Consortium. Due to licensing restrictions you must be at those libraries in order to use their databases. If you are prompted to enter an NYU or New School NetID, then the link will not work from your current location.
      • After entering your search, you will see brief records for the results. Follow the title links for any items you are interested in. The next screen should show the library locations, including links to electronic versions, if available. Those that are freely available have a link to "Online Version" or "Online Access" with no institutional restrictions listed, while others will indicate access only for specific institutions. Look closely at the list or click on the More Info button to see if the resources match what you are looking for (especially dates for e-journals).

      • When looking at the initial search results, you can use the Limits on the left for Genre to narrow the list down to "Electronic" or "Internet" resources.

      • Many records for books contain an unrestricted link to the Table of Contents at (Library of Congress). These are not links to electronic books, just to the tables of contents. In those cases, check the Location, Call Number, and Status to locate a copy of the physical book.

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