Searching for Books Help Guide

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

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 Basic or Advanced Search

The Oakton Library Catalog offers two ways to look for books: Basic Search and Advanced Search.

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

Basic 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. This looks for your search terms in ALL fields of a catalog record.
    • 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. 
  • Search for specific words: If you know the title or author or other distinguishing features of the item you are looking for, you can choose to narrow your search by title, author, subject, or ISBN/ISSN using the dropdown menu to the right of the search box and type in the specific information you have.

Second, click the “Find” button to the far right of the search box.

Advanced Search

Type Your Search Terms

Advanced Search provides three search boxes that you can separately customize to search by keyword (i.e. anywhere in the record), or just in the title, author, subject or ISBN/ISSN fields by using dropdown menus to the left of the search boxes.

Select the Way the Terms Relate To Each Other

Another set of dropdown menus lets you combine your search terms using AND (looks for both terms together), OR (looks for either term by itself), or NOT (excludes a term).

Limit Your Search

Below the search boxes are additional options for refining your search. You can limit to:

  • a certain publication date or range of dates.
  • a particular version (electronic, print or microform).
  • materials in a particular language.
  • materials in a particular format (e.g. Do you want the book or the movie?  Do you only want to look for journals?).
  • include or exclude Government Documents.

Step 2:  Navigate the Search Results

The search results list shows you the title, author, date, call number, campus location, and whether or not an item is available. The search results list also provides several options:

  • to find the most recent books, use the “Relevance” drop down menu found near the upper right of the screen, and select “Newest First.”
  • to narrow your search, choose options from the right-hand side of the screen. Options include limiting by format, specific author, and/or subject areas.

Step 3:  Navigate the Item Record

To view an item record, click on the desired title in the search results list. Some key features include:

  • at the top of the page, you may choose “Cite this” to produce an APA or MLA citation for the item.
  • in the middle of the page are specific topics covered by the item. Click on a topic to find more books about the same subject in the catalog.
  • towards the bottom of the screen on the Location & Availability tab is information on where the item is located.

Need additional help?
Ask a Reference Librarian!

Des Plaines Campus Library, 2nd floor, 847.635.1644
Ray Hartstein Campus Library, Room A200, 847.635.1474