Catalog Help

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Enter keywords, a title, ISBN, call number and more to retrieve results where matching terms are located in any field

Basic Search
  • Select Title, Author/Creator or Subject from the drop-down menu to limit to specific fields, if desired or appropriate
  • Results will include plural and singular forms, as well as common suffix and tense variations of your search terms
  • When searching by call number, enter the number with the proper spacing (for example, PZ3 D55 Gr 1942)

Tips for Better Search Results

Use the plus symbol (+) to boost the relevance of a specific term in your results

Basic Search - Emphasizing Term

Use the minus symbol (-) or the uppercase word NOT to ensure that a term or terms will not appear in your results

Basic Search - Excluding Term

Use quotation marks around phrases, and include initial articles in known titles

Basic Search - Phrases

Basic Search - Phrases
  • Note: Phrases such as climate change or celebrity culture may return results with variant endings (climatic change, celebrating culture). Those records with climate change or celebrity culture will rank highest

Search for items at UW-Madison (default), or switch to UW System

Search UW System Jump to top Jump to top

Search (Advanced)

Enter search terms in more than one field and specify limits for publication dates, formats, languages, and libraries/library collections.

Advanced Search - Subject and Date
  • The example above will find all items with the Library of Congress subject heading terms athletes and either steroids or drugs, published between 2008 and 2012.
  • Note that Boolean operators AND, OR and NOT must be uppercase
  • Results in the Advanced Search will include all of your search terms (this differs from the default search, which uses relevance)


Set limits before you begin your search. If you select more than one format, the results will limit to any items in those selected formats. Selecting another type of limit (language, for example) will return results in the formats selected if they match your selected language(s).

If you retrieve too many items, you will able to refine your search when you view your results.

Limits Jump to top Jump to top

Search (Browse)

Browse the catalog by subject topics, places, languages or author/creator names.

  • Terms entered must match standardized subject headings (for example, Library of Congress or National Library of Medicine).
  • If you do not retrieve results, search using keywords, and browse subjects by selecting the subjects within an item's record (see Manage Results for more information)

Capitalize the first letter of the term you enter. To find items about college athletes:

Browse by Subject

Or select a letter, and then set of letters, to browse all subjects that begin with the selected letters:

Browse subjects by letters Jump to top Jump to top

Manage Results: Locate Materials

The list of results will often provide the library location information. You may need to view a full record for more information.

Locating Titles

Full Record and Availability Information

The full record can provide more detailed information about an item's availability, including information about availability at other UW System campuses. If an item is available at another UW System campus, you may request delivery to UW-Madison.

Availability in Full Record Jump to top

Manage Results: Refine Using Facets

Select a facet at the left of the screen. Facets allow you to:
  • change the scope of your search results (UW-Madison items or all UW System items)
  • limit by library, format and/or language
  • discover and browse subjects related to your results

The image below shows the facets for the search global warming. The selections refine results to DVDs at College Library with the standardized subject global warming.

Refine Results

Add or remove facets if you wish. Facets currently in effect will appear at the top of your results page.

Remove Facets Jump to top

Manage Results: Export Records

When viewing a record, use the menu of export options at the upper left.

Export Record Options


Select records to save them in a folder and export them later.
  • Items will remain selected while your library catalog session is active
  • You may select items from a list of results, rather than from an individual record


View the item's citation in MLA and APA citation style. Note: Citations are software-generated and may contain errors. Check the appropriate style manual for verification.

Export your citations to a citation manager such as RefWorks or Endnote. For more information about creating a citation manager account and exporting records, see Overview of Citation Managers.


Email a record to receive a permanent link to the record in the library catalog.


The Print option will format the record for printing, and will only include basic information such as title, location, call number and availability.


Share the link to the record in the library catalog via a variety of social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. Jump to top Jump to top

Place Requests: General Information

When viewing a list of results, click the desired title to see the item's record and full availability information. Use the Sign In to Place Request button.

Sign In to Place Request

Note: If you are requesting a title from a multi-volume work, search for the item in MadCat, and place your request there.

Place Requests: Item Is Available at UW-Madison

Use the Sign In to Place Request button.

Sign In to Place Request

  • Sign in with your UW-Madison NetID
  • The item will be retrieved from the shelf and held at the campus library of your choice
  • You will be notified via email when the item is available for pick up
For more information, see Retrieve Materials from the Shelf.

Place Requests: Item Is Not Available at UW-Madison

Physical copies may be available at other UW System campuses.

View Other Copies

  • Use the Sign In to Place Request button
  • If a copy is available from another UW System campus, it will be retrieved from another campus, transferred to the library of your choice and held for you
  • If a copy is not available from another UW System campus, a copy that is checked out will be held for you when the current borrower returns it (the current borrower will be issued an earlier due date)

Items Not Available for Request

Some items may not be requested. Often these items have a very limited loan period (e.g., a book on reserve for a class) or they may be part of a special collection. Please contact the holding library if you have questions.

Place Requests: Item Is On Order / In Process / Being Processed

This item is not currently available, but you may request it and have it held for you after the libraries have received it and processed it

On Order or In Process

Complete the On Order / In Process Inquiry Form and the item will be held for you at the campus library of your choice

Place Requests: Other Request Options

If the item you are searching for is not owned by UW-Madison or other UW System libraries:

  • Use Article and Book Delivery (note the section labeled Items NOT in the Library Catalog for directions for placing a request).

If you have a question about whether the Libraries own a specific title, please Ask a Librarian.

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