Library Catalog - Search Tips

Use the library catalog to find books, media, some government documents and microfilm/fiche. (You cannot locate journal or newspaper articles using the library catalog - use the print and online indexes to locate articles). You are always welcome to check with the Research Help Desk in Penfield (315-312-4267) if you need assistance.


Picture of basic search screen of online catalog

Words adjacent:

No = search for all terms no matter where they are in a record or field
Example: Title: children education (kept default of words adjacent No) netted 3287 hits

Yes = all terms MUST be next to each other in a record or field
Example: Title: children education (selected words adjacent? Yes) netted 1151 hits


Basic Search defaults to searching in "All Fields." Choose a specific field name from the drop-down menu if you prefer to search by Author, Title, Series, etc.


  • There are several additional search options available.
  • You can do a very specific combination search in this screen. By using the drop down boxes to make selections you can limit by:
    • Collection
    • Document Type (juvenile, map, DVD...)
    • Language
    • Year

RESULTS LIST: your search results will include all catalogued library resources that match your search terms. For more information about an item, click on the title or the number in the "More Info" column. To see whether an item is checked out, click on the Is it here? link in the "Availability" column.

SEARCH TIPS: Click the Search Tips link (located at the bottom of the screen) for information.

Questions may be emailed to or call the Information Desk at 315-312-4267.

  • Lowercase letters will find matches of capitalized words also. For example, computer will find matches for computer, Computer and COMPUTER.
  • Apostrophe: When typing in a search term, the apostrophe can be used Ex: lily's OR left out Ex: lilys
  • Truncation:
    • The ? character or * character (asterisk) can be placed at the left, right or middle of a portion of a word, but can never be used more than once in a text string. (Ex: multipl? OR multipl* will locate multiple, multiples, multiply, multiplying etc.)
    • The # symbol can be used to find variant spellings in cases where one version of the word has one more chararacter than another version. For example, colo#r finds both color and colour; and arch#eology finds both archaeology and archeology.
    • The ! character can be used to find variant spellings in cases where a single character can vary. For example, wom!n retrieves both woman and women.
    • The % symbol, followed by a number, can be placed between two words to indicate that you want the words to appear within a particular distance from each other. For example, england %3 ballads retrieves Ballads of England , Ballads of Merry Olde England and England and Her Ballads.
    • The ! character, followed by a number, can be placed between two words to indicate that you want the words to appear within a particular distance from each other, and in the same order in which you type the words. In this case, england !3 ballads retrieves Ballads of England and Ballads of Merry Olde England but not England and Her Ballads.


Once you have generated a list, you can choose a filter to view a subset of your List of Records. Click on the word Filter to access the following choices:

  • Available material: that is, items that are not signed out. This is an excellent way to see which materials are on the shelves. (Non-circulating materials that may be used in the building will also display as Available.)
  • There are additional filter options available. Click on Filter to see all the possibilities.

You can send the selected materials to your email address.


As you are searching you can add records to your basket. First select a record you are interested in by clicking on the blank box that precedes the author name; a check mark should appear. Now click on Add to Basket link. If you click Add to Basket from detailed display screen, you can add an optional note to yourself. When you are done searching you can click on Basket to view or email contents of your basket or to save the records to your own computer.


You can place a hold request for material that is out on loan. Click on the I want it next link to place a hold request on the item and follow the on-screen instructions. Hold requests cannot be placed for Available items.  

  • Follow the on-screen instructions regarding Library Number and Password to sign in. If you have problems signing in, please email
  • After signing in, you should see "You Are Signed In" at the top of the screen. Click on the link Renew Books / View Personal Circulation Information to continue.
  • Activities contains several items: Loans, Hold requests and Cash transactions.
    Loans: Click here to see what you have signed out and/or to renew items you have on loan.
    Hold requests: View a list of materials(s) upon which you have placed a hold request ("I want it next").
    Cash transactions: View an itemized list of your outstanding fines and fees.
  • Click on Update address and email address to view and update this information. Changes here will NOT change the address on file with the Registrar. Be sure to also change your address with the Registrar's Office.
  • Click on Change Password to change the password associated with your library number and library account.
  • Click on End Session and GO to sign out of Personal Circulation Information.