Books, media, and government documents may be searched in the Library Catalog by author, title, Library of Congress Subject Heading or keyword. For books not held by the Oviatt Library, request an Interlibrary Loan or search WorldCat to see if other local libraries have the books or media you need.
- To search for books about a specific person, search the Library Catalog using the Subject search and enter the person's name as last name, first name.
- To search for books about the lives of a group of people, search the Library Catalog using the Keyword search and enter the plural form of the word that describes the group and the word biography, e.g., journalists biography.
- To search for books on specific topics, search the Library Catalog using the Keyword search and use the truncation symbol * at the end of the root of a word to maximize results, e.g., searching vot* right* will retrieve voting rights, right to vote, voter rights, rights of voters, etc.
Library Catalog Basic Search
Starting from the Library Catalog Basic Search screen you can search by Keyword, Title, Author, or Subject by selecting the radio buttons and typing search words in the text box.
The default Limits setting will search the entire collection. You may also limit your search to smaller sub-collections: Ejournals (electronic periodicals--not specific articles), Ebooks, NCOD (National Center on Deafness), TCC (Teacher Curriculum Center), Periodicals/Serials (not specific articles), Videos, Reference Room, Special Collections, or Sound Recordings by selecting a collection from the drop-down menu.
Searching for a specific Item
Select an Author or Title search if you know the author (last name, first name) or at least the first few words of the title.
Searching for Items by Topic
There are two ways to search the online catalog for resources on a topic: by Keyword or by Subject.
- A Basic Keyword search will simultaneously look for words in titles of materials, in subject headings, and in notes fields.
- A Subject search will locate materials by Library of Congress Subject Headings, which is a controlled vocabulary or standard list of subject terms. The Oviatt Library assigns Library of Congress Subject Headings to all items listed in the online catalog.
- Another way to find the Library of Congress Subject Heading for your topic is to search the catalog by Keyword, display the record for a relevant title, and select one or more of the Subjects listed for that record.
Library Catalog Advanced Search
For an Advanced search, select the Advanced Catalog Search link on the homepage. The Advanced search allows you to search by keyword in up to four separate fields, and optionally limit your search by language, material type, location, collection, publisher, or publication date.
To start your search:
- Select the field you want to search (Author, Title, Subject, Note, or "any field") from the first drop-down menu.
- Type keyword(s) in the adjacent text box. Two or more words entered together in one search box will retrieve records containing that exact phrase, unless there is no exact match. If there is no exact match for the phrase entered, the system will retrieve records contain all search terms entered, wherever they are in the record.
- (OPTIONAL) For a combined search, enter additional keywords into separate search boxes and choose the appropriate Boolean operators (and, or, and not) from the pull-down menu.
Searching for Videos, CDs, DVDs and Other Media in the Library Catalog
- Many videos, DVDs, CDs and other media formats held by the Oviatt Library are listed in the Library Catalog and located in Music & Media.
- Instructional media for K-12 are located in the Teacher Curriculum Center.
- Search for media by Author (director, screenwriter, producer, artist, composer, etc.) and/or Title. Media can also be searched by topic (see Library Catalog Basic Search).
- Limit search results to media as follows:
- For videos/DVDs: In the Basic search screen, change View Entire Collection to Videos/DVD in the pull-down menu.
- For all media types: In the Advanced screen under "Optional Limits" set the "Material Type" pull-down menu to specify the type of media you want.
Viewing Results in the Library Catalog
Select a title to see more information.
Information includes publication information, location, call number and checkout status. Click on the various links to find more items by the same author or in the same subject area.
Placing Holds in the Library Catalog
- You may place a hold on material that is currently checked out. Click the "Place a Hold" button.
- When prompted, type in your CSUN User ID and Password. If you are not a CSUN student, faculty or staff member, type your name and 14-digit bar code from your valid CSUN photo ID in the area provided.
- The library will hold the book at the Circulation Desk for 10 days following notification.
- You may contact the Circulation staff at 818-677-2274 if you need additional support or information.
Requesting Stored Items from the Library Catalog
- Materials with a Stored location code are held in the Automated Storage and Retrieval System (ASRS) and may be retrieved by clicking the "Request" button.
- When prompted, enter your CSUN User ID and Password. If you are not a CSUN student, faculty or staff member, enter your name and 14-digit bar code from your valid CSUN photo ID in the area provided
- ASRS retrievals may also be requested at the Circulation desk.
- Allow about 10 minutes for items to be retrieved from storage and delivered to a service desk.
Can't Find the Book You Need Here?
Locating Book Reviews
The following databases are useful for locating book reviews. Enter the author and/or title of the book as keywords and follow any of the specific instructions listed under each database:
- Book Review Digest Plus (Wilson)
- Indexes reviews of current fiction and non-fiction from over 8,000 periodicals covered by other Wilson databases and also has over 100,000 full text reviews. 1983- present.
- Communication and Mass Media Complete (EBSCOhost)
- Locates book reviews from journals and trade publications in communication and mass media. Choose the "book review" option from the document type pulldown menu to limit to book reviews.
- Comprehensive archive of back issues of core scholarly journals in the arts, business, humanities, sciences and social sciences. Check the box to limit search to book reviews.
- LexisNexis Academic
- LexisNexis is a good source for book reviews. Use the News search option and click on "Book, Movie, Music, Play, and Video Reviews" from the source menu. The "Book, Movie, Music, Play, and Video Reviews" group file contains book reviews from newspapers, such as the New York Times, Publishers Weekly, and Library Journal, as well as a variety of trade publications.