Searching for Items Help Guide

The library catalog is the place to find items held at Oakton Community College. You can search for books, films, kits, journals, articles, and more, by title, author, subject, keyword, ISBN, or ISSN.

You Must Have a Current Library Card To Borrow Books

Access our printable handout for sample screen images that correspond with the explanation.

Step 1:  Using Simple or Advanced Search

The Oakton Library Catalog offers two ways to look for books: simple search and advanced search.

First, navigate to the catalog. From the homepage, click on the Search Our Catalog link.

Special Note: If you are looking for something that an instructor put on reserve, check out Course Reserves.

Simple Search

Enter the words needed to identify the item you are looking for in the search box.

Search by keyword: Enter words that identify the item or information you need in the search box.

  • Fewer words and phrases generally produce more results.
  • The more words and phrases you use, the more specific your search becomes. If your search is getting few or no results, think of more generic terms and/or use fewer search terms.

Click the magnifying glass or press enter to begin your search.

Advanced Search

Type Your Search Terms

In advanced search, you are provided with two search term lines that you can separately customize for the search. You can use the drop down menus to change the search filters to better fit your search. You can change any field (i.e. anywhere in the record) to title, author/creator, subject, ISBN, or ISSN fields. These drop down menus are located before the search term lines.

Select the Way the Terms Relate To Each Other

Another set of drop down menus lets you combine your search terms. Combine search terms using:

  • AND: Looks for both terms together
  • OR: Looks for either term by itself
  • NOT: excludes a term

Limit Your Search

Next to the search lines are additional options for refining your search. You can limit to:

  • Material Type: a particular material type (all items, journals, books, articles, images, sound recordings, video/film, or dissertations)
  • Language: materials in a particular language
  • Start Date and End Date: a certain publication date or range of dates

Step 2:  Navigate the Search Results

The results list shows you the title, author, publication date, and whether or not a particular item is available.

To find the most recently published books, change the Sort By option to “Date-newest.”

You can also narrow your search with the facets on the left hand side of the screen. The search can be limited by:

  • Availability
  • Subject
  • Author
  • Creator
  • Location
  • Library
  • Institution
  • Creation Date
  • Language
  • Resource Type
  • Genre

Step 3:  Navigate the Item Record

When you click on an item in the list, it directs you to its item record. Below the title, author, and publication date is the item’s availability.

There are a number of options below the item description.

In the “Send to” section, there are a variety of options. Some include:

  • Email will send a link of this item record to your email.
  • Easybib allows you to quickly generate a citation for the chosen item in the style (ex. MLA, APA, etc) of your choice (Warning: some citations are incomplete).

The “Location Items” section lists the campus currently holding this book.

The “Virtual Browse” section shows the items located next to the one you are looking at. These items frequently are on the same topic.

Need additional help?
Ask a Reference Librarian!

Online Help: Ask a Librarian
Email the Library:
Reference Desk Phone Number:  847-635-1644