Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Resource Wednesday: Where's that book?

A student question yesterday reminded me that our catalog can be a bit confusing - so today's Resource Wednesday is here to help you figure out exactly where those items you're looking for might be.

First of all, I'm sure you all know by now that URSUS is our online catalog - the place you go to look for books and other materials (like DVDs, sound recordings, and more) in our library. But did you know that we share that catalog with a number of other libraries? In fact, URSUS will show you materials in all of the University of Maine system libraries, the Bangor Public Library, the Maine State Library, the Maine State Law and Legislative Reference Library, and the Maine State Archives. Whew! That's a lot of materials.

The two things you need to know are pretty simple: you can request books from any library in the system (assuming they're available). However, it'll take them a little time to get here. (3-5 business days). If you're a commuting student, and you live closer to another library in the system, you can have the books sent there, instead.

The image below shows you a sample search. (Click on it to see a larger version.) If you look by the red arrow on the left side, you'll see a list of locations. Books that are on our campus start with FAR.. The call number tells you where in the library it'd be located, and the status tells you whether the book is available or not. (This is the record for the hardcover version of the book: if you search the catalog, you'll see we have a bunch of paperback copies for our On Our Minds program too.)

If the book isn't available on our campus, you can request a copy by clicking on the Request icon (see below, and follow the arrow: it's the circle with a checkmark through it.) You'll be asked to enter your name and barcode. You can also enter a date to automatically cancel the request (but choose a date at least 7-10 days away, or the request might get cancelled before you get it.)

You'll get an email when the book arrives. If you had it sent here, you can pick it up at the Access Services desk. (As always, you'll need your ID to check it out).

What happens if you need a resource right now? You can limit your searches just to items in our library by selecting the library you want to search on the initial search screen. (You can do the same thing for any library in the system.)You can also limit to some parts of our collection, like the Kalikow Center, our Juvenile and Young Adult collection, or our Archives.

And finally, if you're not finding what you're looking for in the URSUS catalog, you can search MaineCat, a larger database of materials throughout the state including many more libraries, or use Interlibrary Loan, which can help you get materials from other states. (These options both take longer...)

You can learn a lot more about these options (and get some additional help with URSUS) by reading our online guide to Finding Books. And of course, the library staff would love to help you - stop by, or use our online chat option to ask for help.

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