April 6, 2000. The electronic newsletter of the University Library, University of South Alabama, published irregularly as a service to the University Community.

Searching SOUTHcat: The Basics


What is SOUTHcat?

SOUTHcat, the University of South Alabama Libraries Catalog, contains database records for books, magazines, journals, newspapers, videos, cassettes, other audiovisual formats, some government documents, maps, musical scores and some microfilm and microfiche collections owned by the Biomedical and University Libraries. Dauphin Island Sea Lab items are included in our catalog. Also included are materials which are waiting to be ordered, on order or in the process of being cataloged.

SOUTHcat does not contain journal articles, although you can find out which journals we subscribe to. It also has only very few items from the USA Archives. Many government documents are in the catalog, but many are still awaiting cataloging.

Searching SOUTHcat
(Help pages are available from every screen)

When you enter the catalog you will have the choice of four types of searches and a way to set specific limits before you begin your searches.

Author-Title-Subject: Use this search when you want to know if we own an item for which you know one of the following. It is "left anchored," which means you don't have to type the whole title or name--the search engine will fill in all possible endings. Capital letters are unnecessary.

Keyword: This search finds words or phrases anywhere in the item record. Use quotation marks around phrases" "eating disorders", "civil war", ""king lear". Use Boolean operators, AND, OR and NOT (THESE MUST BE IN ALL CAPS) to broaden or narrow your searches. Use the question mark ? to truncate (to obtain plurals and various endings). "mass media" AND violen? AND (child? OR adolescen?) For even more focused searching use field codes listed on the keyword help page. This is not a "left anchored" search; you must type an entire word or use truncation.

Fill in Form: This is a keyword search which assists you in Boolean searching and allows you to limit to a particular database field easily.

The best use of this search is 1)to enter your topic and its synonyms in the first box, 2) set the pull down to read "any of these" 3) set the next pull down menu to "keyword anywhere" or to a specific field and 4) set the Boolean to "AND" with the next set.

Put your second concept and its synonyms in the next box and repeat steps 2, 3 & 4. Do the same if you have a third concept.

Course Reserve: Use this to locate items which your instructor has put on reserve at the Circulation desk. You have several ways to find this material: by instructor's name, department, specific course title or section number.

Set Search Limits: This function allows you to focus your search to a specific language, publication year/s, type of material, location at South Alabama and more. Limits must be set before a search is begun and will remain in effect until you clear them or exit your session.

Displaying Records: Click on any item to display the information for that record. Move forward or backward through the list with the Previous or Next buttons. Author and Subject searches return a list of headings. Click on the heading to get a list of items. If these headings have a SEE ALSO button you can click on it to find the correct subject heading. Related headings may also show up.

Printing, Saving and Emailing: Each record will have a print/save and an email box at the bottom of the screen. Click on print/save and then use the browser's File pull-down menu to print or save to a disk. If you want to email, enter your email address in the box and click the email button. To select multiple records, use the title list screen and check the records you want in the left column one page at a time. If you want all, use the "All on page" button to select all records.

Account Status: Login with your Library Card number (for students this is the number under the barcode on your student ID) and last name to find out what items you have checked out and whether you owe and fines or fees. You may also renew, recall and hold items.

Protect your privacy on public workstations by Logging Off and hitting the Exit button before leaving the terminal.

Help: Call or visit the Reference Desks for more help using this Catalog.

If you discover a glitch in the system let us know by calling the same number or sending us an email. Send us comments or questions at the same email address: webref@jaguar1.usouthal.edu

SOUTHcat Plus
University Homepage

To make comments or suggestions, or to get more information, call (334) 460-6045 or e-mail Jan Sauer.
  Last updated: 04/06/00 js
This page: http://www.usouthal.edu/univlib/news/news14/help.html