Tips for Using the Online Catalog

The "front page" of the catalog contains a tab for each kind of search you can do. To start one of these searches, just click on the tab. Help is available on each search screen. Search options include:

  • Keyword: This is the default if you don't click any tab. This searches for all the words you enter, unless you specify otherwise (see Advanced Keyword search). Or you can search for a phrase by using quotes. Example: New England will search for items that contain the words New AND England; "New England" will search for items containing the phrase New England.
  • Title: start with the first word of the title, excluding words 'a', 'an' or 'the';
  • Author or composer, performer, illustrator, etc.; enter the last name first.
  • Subject: search by Library of Congress subject headings;
  • Author/Title: helpful for prolific authors or for common names or titles;
  • Journal Title: for magazines and newspapers. Start with the first word of the title.
  • Other Searches: include Advanced Keyword searching, Number Searches such as Dewey Call#, ISBN/ISSN, or Other Libraries in the CWMARS system. (Note, even though Forbes uses the Cutter system, our call numbers are listed in the Dewey Call# search tab.)
  • Advanced Keyword: allows you to specify Boolean operators such as AND, OR, NOT, NEAR, etc; and which fields to search for each term you enter (Author, Title, Subject, etc.) You can also limit by material type (Book, Periodical, CD, DVD); lauguage; and location (which library owns the item).

If you know:
Use this search
The name (title) of a book, video, or magazine
Who wrote the book AUTHOR
The general subject KEYWORD
Exact subject heading SUBJECT
The name (title) of a play TITLE
Who wrote the music AUTHOR
A few words from the title KEYWORD
Who starred in the video AUTHOR
Part of the author's name and part of the title AUTHOR/TITLE
Who performs the music AUTHOR
The name of a song KEYWORD

Once you have started your search, you can modify the results in several ways by using the Limit/Sort Search button at the top of the screen. This allows you to limit the search:

  • by location (departments or other libraries)
  • by material type (videos, sound recordings, books, large type, ebooks, etc.)
  • by language (Spanish, English, French, Russian, Vietnamese, etc.)
  • by publication date
  • by words in title, author, subject, or publisher fields
  • to sort results by year

Search tips:

  • check your spelling if you don't get the results you expect
  • click the More Information button for book summary and reviews
  • look at the Status to see whether the book is available or checked out
  • click the Request button to have an item held for you if it is not currently available
  • to get back to a list of results, click the Return To List button
  • click the Previous or Next buttons to move around a list of results
  • once you find a suitable book, click the Find Similar Items tab to see subject links and find other items related to those subjects
  • use two asterisks ** for truncation
  • use the drop-down menu to change a Title or Subject search to a Keyword search
  • use the drop-down menu to search in a different library or in all Western MA libraries
  • Ask a Librarian for help!

I found it in the catalog, now where do I go?

  • Note the location and call number, and status ("Check Shelves" means it's not checked out).
  • Check the Guide to find out where the item is located in the library
  • If you need help, ask a librarian for help!

Catalog features include:

  • Ability to search the holdings of the Forbes Library or any other libraries in the Western Massachusetts Regional Library System.
  • Ability to request books or other materials to be delivered to your local library.
  • Access to your library record online (see below for details)
  • Links to free electronic books
  • Save items to a list and email them to yourself or someone else!

Your Library Record:

You can view your library record online, including items you have charged out, fines you may owe, and items you have on hold. You may also renew materials you have borrowed, or keep track of books you've read. The first time you access your record online, you will be prompted to choose a PIN (Personal Identification Number). Choose a word or set of numbers that you can remember easily. If you forget your PIN or have trouble with it, please stop by the library's circulation desk with positive ID. Because of privacy concerns, we are not able to edit your PIN over the phone or via email. However, we will gladly assist you in renewing items, placing holds, etc. if you call us at 587-1011.

If you need assistance, call the Reference Desk at 587-1012.

Note:The online catalog is not 100% complete. It lists nearly all of the library's circulating collections, but not all of our older or unique materials are included yet. In particular, sheet music, old or rare materials, and special collection items are not completely cataloged. If you are seeking any of these things and you don't find them in the online catalog, don't give up! We have other ways of searching for materials that are not yet online. Call or visit the library to check other sources for these items.