Library Catalog help

About the Library Catalog

What does this search?

Use the Catalog to search for materials held or made available by the University of Chicago Library, including:

What is not searched?

The Library Catalog does not include records for articles [in journals, periodicals and newspapers]. If you have a citation for a specific article, search for the name of the journal. If you are looking for articles on a topic, use one of the Library's article databases or Articles Plus.

What's the difference between the Library Catalog and ArticlesPlus?

The Library Catalog does not include records for articles, but ArticlesPlus does. ArticlesPlus allows simultaneous searching of a broad range of articles, books, and other collections. It searches all of the materials from the Library Catalog, a large proportion of the Library's available article content, and digitized collections of documents and images from many organizations.

Why a new library catalog?

The end of vendor support for the previous Library Catalog and Lens require the implementation of a new catalog. Moving to an open source catalog like VuFind allows the Library to tailor the interface to the needs of UChicago researchers.

Technical details

This catalog uses a customized version of VuFind 2.1 for its search interface. Bibliographic data is stored in a SirsiDynix Horizon system (after Summer, 2014, Horizon will be replaced by Kuali OLE).

Features in Development

This is a beta release of the Library Catalog. Upcoming development will focus on MyAccount features, and optimization for mobile devices.

Selecting a Search Type

Basic Keyword Search

Basic Keyword Search retrieves records that include all of the terms that you enter in the text box at the top of the screen. The default setting, "All Fields," retrieves records that use the keywords anywhere in the record (title, author, subject, etc.) For more precision, you can select a field type (e.g. title, author) from the drop-down menu on the right to search only within that field.

Basic Keyword Search is a good choice when you're exploring a topic, or when you're searching for a specific book but are unsure of the exact title or author.

Advanced Keyword Search

Advanced Keyword Search allows you to combine several types of keyword searches. You can also set limits by language, format, location, collection, and date of publication.

Advanced Keyword Search is a good choice when you have a very specific or complex topic in mind.

Additional help in formulating an advanced search query is available under Using Advanced Keyword Search.

Begins with:

The "Begins With" search allows you to browse through an alphabetical listing of subjects, authors, titles, etc. to find the book you need. It is the easiest way to locate a book if you know the exact title or the author's entire name. Below are some tips for constructing effective browse searches.

enter the author's last name first. For example: dickens, charles.
Call Number
enter the entire call number to be able to virtually browse the stacks
enter subject terms using the Library of Congress Subject Headings. These subject headings, in general, begin with a broad topic and then narrow down through sub-topics. They also refer you to other relevant subject headings. Basic or Advanced Search may be better if you do not know the specific subject heading terminology.

What do the different fields search? (Title, Author, Subject, etc.)

If you specify a field, the Catalog will return only those records which contain your search term(s) in the data field specified. For example, if you search for "Nepal" and "Forestry" and select "Title" from the drop down menu, VuFind will return results for only those records which contain both "Nepal" and "Forestry" in the title. If you do not specify a field, VuFind will return records which contain your search term(s) anywhere in the record.

Why are there so many options?

Defining a data field from the many options in the drop down menu allows you to execute a more focused or precise search. Because the data contained in bibliographic records is coded by type (e.g. Title, Author, Subject, Publisher, etc.), you can specify the type of data you wish to search. That means, for example, that you could search for books that have Mark Twain as the subject rather than as the author. This level of precision is not possible with a Google Search, because the data Google indexes is rarely coded in the same way Library records are.

Using Advanced Keyword Search

What is a search field?

A search field is a text box in which you can type the keywords you want to search for. Each field is accompanied by a drop-down menu that lets you specify the type of data (title, author, etc.) you are searching for. You can mix and match search types however you like.

The "Match" setting lets you specify how multiple search fields should be handled.

The "Add Search Field" button may be used to add additional search fields to the form. You may use as many search fields as you wish.

What is a search group?

For certain complex searches, a single set of search fields may not be enough. For example, suppose you want to find books about the history of China or India. If you did an ALL Terms search for China, India, and History, you would only get books about China AND India. If you did an ANY Terms search, you would get books about history that had nothing to do with China or India.

Search Groups provide a way to build searches from multiple groups of search fields. Every time you click the "Add Search Group" button, a new group of fields is added. Once you have multiple search groups, you can remove unwanted groups with the "Remove Search Group" button, and you can specify whether you want to match on ANY or ALL search groups.

In the history of China or India example described above, you could solve the problem using search groups like this:

What does "ALL terms" mean?

The "Match" options correspond with Boolean operators.

It is also possible to construction a Basic Keyword Search using standard Boolean operators.

Do I need to pick options for Language, Format, etc.?

No. You may choose to limit your search by these options (e.g. Language, Format, Collection), but it is not required.

What order are Languages listed in?

The first 10 languages represent the most common languages in the collection, listed in descending order of prevalence. The remaining languages are listed alphabetically.

What's the difference between a Location and Collection?

"Location" refers to the physical space in which Library materials may be found, e.g. Regenstein Library, Crerar Reference, SSA Reserves. "Collection" refers to a subset of materials within a specific "Location." If you select a Location in your search, any available Collections within that Location will appear as possible limits in the Collection column. For example, if you select Crerar Library under Location, you can then choose to further limit to Crerar Manuscripts under Collection.

How do I pick multiple Languages, Formats, etc.? Why do I get strange results if I pick multiple Languages, Formats, etc.?

It is possible to select multiple languages, Formats, or Locations at once, by holding down the Shift button on your keyboard and clicking on your selections. However, this approach may yield unexpected results. These search limits will be joined with a Boolean AND, not a Boolean OR. So limiting your search to "French" and "English" will only return results for materials that are in both French AND English. Similarly, limiting your search to materials with a Location of Regenstein Library and Crerar Library will only return results for materials located in both places.

It is possible to construct a search which searches French or English language materials using power searching options in a Basic Keyword Search. Add an expression like (language:French OR language:English) to your search to do this. See Field Searching for additional details.

Power Searching Options

Boolean Operators

Boolean operators allow terms to be combined with logic operators. The following operators are allowed: AND, OR, and NOT.
Note: Boolean operators must be ALL CAPS


The AND operator is the default conjunction operator. This means that if there is no Boolean operator between two terms, the AND operator is used. The AND operator matches records where both terms exist anywhere in the field of a record.

To search for records that contain "economics" and "Friedman" use the query:
economics Friedman
economics AND Friedman


The OR operator links two terms and finds a matching record if either of the terms exist in a record.

To search for records that contain either Keynes or Friedman, use the query:

Keynes OR Friedman


The NOT operator excludes records that contain the term after NOT.

To search for records that contain "economics" but not "Friedman" use the query:

economics NOT Friedman

Note: The NOT operator must be combined with other terms. For example, the following search will return no results:

NOT economics

Proximity Searching

Use the tilde ~ symbol at the end of a Multiple word Term. For example, to search for economics and Friedman that are within 10 words of each other, enter:
"economics friedman"~10
The quotation marks are required.

Term Boosting

Term boosting allows you to give a search term more weight in the relevance ranking. Use the ^ symbol followed by a number
economics and Friedman^5

Truncation and Wildcards


Use the asterisk symbol to search for variations of words.
Searching for test* will find test, tests, tester, testing, etc.


Use the question mark symbol to replace one character in a word.
For example, to search for "text" or "test" you can use the search:

Use the asterisk symbol to replace multiple characters in a word
Searching for colo*r finds color and colour.

Truncation and wildcards cannot be used in phrase searches.

Field Searching

You can limit a search to specific fields in a record by entering field names in the keyword search box, using the syntax: field_label:search terms.

Some general guidelines for using field searching:

Field Label What it Searches Example
author Main author. For works with multiple authors, this will only find the first author. author:plato
author:Bellow Saul
author2 Added authors. This includes non-first authors of works with multiple authors, corporate authors, conference names author2:Engels
author2:(Ford Motor Company)
author2:"United States. Department of the Interior."
callnumber-search Searches for any type of call number.  You must omit spaces and prefixes such as f, AudCD, or microfm.


contents Table of contents. This is not available for all items in the catalog, however. contents:friedman
contents:"stirling bridge"
donor Endowed fund used for purchase or donor of materials donor:Harris
id Item bib number, its unique identifier in the database id:5017168
isbn May omit dashes isbn:0226111008
issn May omit dashes issn:0002-8282
language Language names are case-sensitive, e.g. German language:French
language:"Ancient Greek"
notes Additional information about a work. May include contents notes:facsimile
notes:(limited edition)
oclc_num Unique identifier from OCLC, provider of WorldCat oclc_num:23140494
performer Participant in some type of recording, generally music or motion picture performer:coltrane
performer:(harrison ford)
publisher Not case sensitive publisher:oxford
publisher:"university of chicago press"
publication_place Not case sensitive publication_place:Chicago
publication_place:"New York"
publishDate May use the range search [2000 TO 2002] "TO" must be capitalized publishDate:1999
publishDate:[1999 TO 2003]
series Works published as part of a monographic series. series:loeb
series:(lecture notes)
title Searches the main title exactly as it appears. No tables of contents or other title fields are searched. title:(romeo and juliet)
title_alt Searches for variations in the main titles and titles from tables of contents. Does not search the main title title_alt:(romeo and Juliet)
title_uniform Searches specialized field designed to identify resources that might have variations in title name; but does not also search the main title. Can bring up records with title in other languages title_uniform:(romeo and Juliet)
topic Library of Congress Subject Headings.
Not case sensitive; punctuation can be omitted.
topic:(united states history civil war)

Limit by format using field labels

Limit to a specific format by using the field label "format".
These formats are used in the Library Catalog. Format types are case-sensitive and multi-word formats must be enclosed in quotation marks. Items may have multiple format types.

Format Type  
Archives/Manuscripts Primarily items held in Special Collections, but may include reproductions of manuscripts
Audio Includes audio recordings in any format
"Blu-ray disc" Video recording in Blu-ray format
Book Can be printed works and electronic books
CD Can include audio, data, text and images
Dissertations Ph.D dissertations and masters theses
DVD Can include data, text and video
E-Resource Any item with a URL in its record.
Image Includes photographs and printed images, such as posters
Journal Includes journals, newspapers and other titles published on a regular basis
Laserdisc A type of video recording
LP Long Playing record, a type of audio recording
Map Maps of all types. Includes some atlases
Microform Includes microfilm and microfiche
"Music recording" Any type of audio
"Music Score" Printed music
Photograph Digitized photographs
"Spoken word recording" Audio recording without music
Video Includes video recordings in any media format
"Video cassette" Type of video recording

An example search would be "format:LP".

Limit by Library using field labels

Limit to a specific library by using the field label "building". You must use either the full library name in quotes or the truncation symbol, *. Names are case sensitive. These are the names as used in the catalog:
"Crerar Library"
"D'Angelo Law Library"
"Eckhart Library"
"Mansueto Library"
"Regenstein Library"

Example searches:
building:"D'Angelo Law Library"

Library by collection using field labels

Limit to a specific location using the field label item_collection. These are case sensitive and you must use either the full collection name in quotes or the truncation symbol, *.

"Crerar Reference"
"Crerar Reserves"
"Law Reserves"
"Eckhart Reference"
"Eckhart Reserves"
"Regenstein Recordings"
"Regenstein Reference"
"Regenstein Reserves"
"Regenstein Reference"
"Regenstein TECHB@R"
"SSA Reserves"

These are collections held in the Special Collections Research Center:

"American Drama"
"American Newspapers"
"Atkinson Collection of American Drama"
"Austrian Collection of Drama"
"Codex Manuscripts"
"Crerar Manuscripts"
"Crerar Rare Books"
"Drama Collection"
"EB Children's Literature"
"Helen and Ruth Regenstein Collection of Rare Books"
"Historical Children's Books”
"Lincke Collection of Popular German Literature"
"Lincoln Collection"
"Ludwig Rosenberger Library of Judaica"
"Modern Poetry Rare"
"Rare Books"
"University of Chicago Press Imprint Collection"

Keyword Results

Most searches will return a list of results. The default number of results per page is 60; you can choose to see fewer or more hits per page by selecting a number from the "Results per Page" drop-down menu.

Brief and detailed views

You can choose to view your list of results in either the "Brief" or "Detailed" view. The Brief view includes a minimum of information for each record (Title, Author, Location, Call Number, Availability, Format), and allows you to quickly scan a large number of results. The Detailed view provides additional information for each record (Physical Description, Subject Headings) to help guide you in making your selection.

To display the full record for any item in the list, click on the title of the work.

Using "Narrow Search" options

The results page contains facets or "Limits" on the right to help focus your search to retrieve fewer, more relevant items. You can narrow your search by format, author, topic, language, and more by simply clicking one of the blue links. The Catalog displays up to five options ranked by frequency under each facet. Click on "More" to see all options.

The Limits you select are displayed at the top of the "Narrow Search" column under "Current Limits." Click on the "X" next to a Limit if you wish to remove it.

Sorting options and Relevance

You can sort your results by choosing a selection from the "Sort by" drop-down menu at the top of the page. The default sort is "Relevance," which means the Catalog uses a relevancy algorithm to rank your search results based on certain factors, including:

Other Sort options include Date Descending (i.e. newest first), Date Ascending (oldest first), Call Number, Author, or Title.


The Catalog includes material in many different formats, including books, DVDs, ebooks, microfilm, music scores, and more. The format of the material appears in your Results list as one or more icons on the right side of the record display.


E-Resource refers to any material that can be accessed online. This includes ebooks, ejournals, websites, electronic databases, digital images, and more.

What preview links/full text links are provided?

Links to full text are available for materials for which the Library has licensed ebook or ejournal content. Links are also provided for materials available in full text through the Hathi Trust, Google Books, and the Open Library.

Begins With Results

What does the number in the "Count" column mean?

The number in the "Count" column refers to the number of results found for the search term in the alphabetical browse list.

Why does it say "Multiple Formats," "Multiple Authors" etc.?

Your results list will indicate "Multiple Formats" if your search returned more than one format of materials (e.g., books and ebooks, or books, DVDs and maps, etc.). It does not mean that the items in the results list are themselves multiple-format titles (meaning, for example, a book with accompanying CD). Similarly, "Multiple Authors" means that the results list represents materials written by a variety of authors. It does not mean that the individual titles themselves have multiple authors.

Full Record

How do I determine if I can get the book?

Check the Holdings tab in the lower section of the page. If the status listed is unclear, consult the chart on item statuses.

What are the different services or ways of getting the book?

Why is some information hyperlinked?

Fields on the full record that are hyperlinked can be clicked to initiate a Begins With search for the hyperlinked term. This is a quick way of locating materials by the same author, on the same subject, or which are adjacent to the original item in the stacks.

Where is the ISBN listed?

Most of the information you need in order to identify or select an item can be found on the main page of the Full Record display. Additional information (like ISBN, page numbers, physical description, notes and summaries) can be seen by clicking the  "More Details" link in the middle of the record.

What is Staff View?

The Staff View display displays the record in MARC (or Machine Readable Catalog Format). The Staff View is mainly used by library staff.

My Account

My Account has information about the items you have checked out, holds, and recalls. You also save items to lists in My Account.

Logging In

Most Library users log in using their CNetID and password. Hospital employees can use their UCHADID and password.

Other borrowers without CNetIDs log in using their barcode and PIN. PINs are established through the Identification & Privileges Office. Contact the IPO for assistance.

Checked Out Items

This shows all items you have checked out from the Library and Borrow Direct, with their due dates. Items checked out through UBorrow are shown in your Interlibrary Loan account

Mansueto Requests

This page displays any items you have selected to be retrieved from Mansueto but have not yet requested. Once the requests are processed, the status is displayed in the Holds and Recalls section.

Holds and Recalls

Displays any items that are ready to be picked up, including items requested from Mansueto, and the status of any recalls you have placed.


The balance due for any fines on your account.


Your contact information. If this needs to be updated, use the appropriate form on this page

Saved Searches

This option allows you to save searches that you want to repeat at a later date. It saves your search terms and limits, not the search results, so it can be a way to locate new materials of interest. The saved searches page displays a list of your recent searches. Click on the save link to save for later use.

You can also save searches from any results page. There is a link at the bottom of each results page to Save Search. You will prompted to log in to My Account, if you haven't already done so.

Your Lists

Save items to lists in your account buy clicking the Save to Account link in an item record. You will be prompted to create a list name the first time you do this.


This displays all items you have saved to your account. Individual lists are displayed after this, in alphabetical order. The number of items in a list displays next to its name.

Editing Lists

Click on a List name to edit the details. You can add notes to individual items or remove them from a list. You can delete an entire list as well. Deleting a list will also delete the items from your account, unless they are on multiple lists.

Sharing Lists

You have the option to make a list public. Do this by clicking Edit List and then changing the option to public. Your list is accessible to anyone who has the web address. Copy that from your browser and paste it into an email or document to share it.