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Library Research Orientation: Using the Library Catalog

Learn how to use the library catalog, search in databases, and cite your sources.

Catalog Introduction

You can use the library catalog to search for over 30,000 eBooks and 27,000 books and audiovisual materials found specifically at the Cerro Coso Community College Library. Pay attention to the listed location, because some books are only available at specific campuses. EBooks can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection.

Catalog Search Tips

Searching the library catalog isn't exactly like searching Google.  Here are a few basic tips to get the most of your search.

  • Focus on the bones - Unlike Google, which can scan the full text on a webpage in nanoseconds, the library catalog can't see inside a book on a shelf. It only scans the item's record, which may include bare bones information like the title, author, subject, publication, table of contents and book description. When searching, think about the content in these areas. What words would your ideal resource include? If you aren't sure, do a broad search and click on a few promising titles to see what their records look like. Use that as a guide.
  • Spell everything correctly - The catalog can make guesses, but spelling words and phrases correctly definitely helps.
  • Search smartly - You can use the drop-down menu in the "Advanced Search" feature to select one or more fields such as Title, Author, etc. Once you find an item on your topic, click the title and scroll down to "Virtual Browse" to see nearby items on the shelf. You can also click any links in the "Subject" section to view other items on the same subject.
  • Stop words - The catalog ignores frequently used articles, prepositions, and conjunctions, called "stop words." You can leave these words out of your search all together. Stop words include: a, an, the, and, but, or, it, of, on, with, in, is, are.
  • Stem words - The catalog generally searches for a word's stem, so you do not need to include plurals and other variations. For example, cat will automatically return both "cat" and "cats," while theater will return both "theater" and "theatre."

Deciphering the Catalog Results Page

Once on the results page, you can view available items. Click a title to find out more about it.

Primo Search Results

If the item is Available Online, it is an eBook. Click the green link to view the eBook.

If the item is physical, it will list the campus (IWV, Bishop, Mammoth, and Tehachapi), then the location:

  • Reserves are behind the circulation desk at IWV or in cabinets at the LRCs at different sites.
  • Reference books are on the low shelves in the back of the library at IWV, on the central shelves at Bishop, and interfiled with the reference books at the Mammoth Public Library.
  • Circulating books are on the tall shelves at IWV.
  • Audiovisual materials are behind the circulation desk at IWV.

The Call Number in parentheses tells you where the book is on the shelf. We use the Library of Congress filing system, though a small reference collection hosted at the Mammoth Public Library uses the Dewey Decimal System. To learn more about what call numbers mean and how Library of Congress Classification is organized, check out the Library of Congress Website.

If the item is lost, missing, or otherwise unavailable, it will display the message "Check for available services." You will be prompted to request the item through ILL, which you can do from the ILL Request link, also found at the top of the catalog.

If the item is checked out, it will display the message "Not available." If you want to request the item, log in with your student email and password and click "Request" under "Get it."

If the record shows "# versions found. See all versions," click it to view the similar records. This may include different editions of the same title.

Refining Results

Filtering Your ResultsRefine Results Column

Once you get the list of all your search results, you can refine them to weed out records that you don't want. Use the drop-down options to limit what you see by date, subject, etc. For example, if you cannot access the physical library, you can select "Available Online" from the Availability drop-down to see only eBooks. If you live in Mammoth, you can select "ESCC Mammoth LRC" from the Library drop-down to see only books at that campus.

Locking Your Filters

If you are doing a lot of research, it can be tedious to fiddle with these settings every time you try a new set of keywords. There is a solution! Once you select the filters you want to keep, hover over them until the lock appears. Clicking the lock will keep the filter active for the remainder of your search session. Note that it will disappear once you close your browser.

Catalog Item Record

Primo Bibligraphic RecordClick a title to view the bibliographic record.

1. Top: Here is a brief view of the item's title, author, edition, publication date, and its location.

2. Get It/View Online: This will tell you where the item is and whether or not it is available to you. If you are signed in, you may be able to request the item to be held for you. If the item is an eBook, click the link provided under "Full text availability." 

3. Details: Here you can find information about the item, including its title, ISBN, table of contents, and more. To see what else the creator has written, click their name. To find more books and eBooks on the same subject, click one of the subject links.

4. Send To: You can link, email, or print the record - note that this is only for the record itself, not the full text of the material. Citation automatically generates a citation of the record in MLA or APA format. Since the data can be glitchy, you should double-check it for accuracy before using it in an essay.

5. Virtual Browse: If you are viewing a physical item, this shows you the titles on the shelf next to your item, which usually means that they are on the same subject or are similarly related.

Advanced Search Tips

  • Boolean Operators - Use AND, OR, and NOT in all capital letters to specify.
    • AND specifies that both words must be included (e.g. Mice AND Cats). This is optional, since it's the default if no Boolean operators are included (e.g. Mice Cats).
    • OR specifies that only one of multiple terms needs to match (e.g. Cats OR Felines OR Kittens).
    • NOT specifies that the second term be excluded the search results (e.g. Mice NOT Computer).
  • Exact phrase - Use "quotation marks" to search for an exact phrase. Be careful - punctuation and spaces must also match!
  • Wild cards - To find variations of a word, use an asterisk (multiple letters) or question mark (1 letter).
    • Catalog* returns results for "catalog," "catalogs," "catalogue," and "cataloging," among other things.
      • Be careful not to shorten too soon.  Cat* returns results for "cats," "catalog," "catastrophe," and "cataclysm!"
    • Gr?y will return both "gray" and "grey." 
      • Note that this only works for one letter. Johans?n will return "Johanson" and "Johansen" but not "Johansson." Use Johans*n instead if you want to see all three variations.
      • A question mark at the end of a word will be treated as punctuation and not a wildcard.  

Catalog Tutorial Video

Cerro Coso Library Catalog Orientation [5:36]

Search the Library Catalog!

Reading an EBook

What are eBooks?

EBooks are electronic versions of print books. Like print books, the text found in eBooks is often enriched with photos, illustrations, graphs and tables. EBooks are available through any internet connection 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for registered Cerro Coso students and employees. Users can easily search for specific passages or words in ways not possible in print.

Accessing eBooks

EBooks can be found through the Cerro Coso Library catalog. They can be recognized by the green “Available Online” link below the title.

To read an eBook, click the green "Available Online" link. If you are off-campus, you may be taken to a login screen where you will need to enter your full college email address and password.

PDF and EPUB Full Text icons

If the eBook is hosted by EBSCOhost (which will appear in the URL), you can access the eBook via the full text icons on the left column. You can also scroll down to the Table of Contents to jump to a chapter, or you can search the text or browse the index for specific terms or subjects.

If the eBook is hosted by Gale (which will appear at the top of the page), you will be taken to the table of contents. You can choose a volume and jump to an entry, or you can Search within Publication to find an article. 

The library also includes some Open Educational Resource eBooks, such as OpenStax, which take you to the eBook without requiring you to login. From here, you can usually view the book online or download a PDF copy of the full text.

If you are experiencing trouble accessing eBooks, please see the troubleshooting tab.

Frequently Asked Questions

Must I be connected to the Internet to access EBSCO's ebook titles?

Yes. To browse and view your library's eBook collection, you must be online. At this time we are unable to provide access to our eBook collection through an eReader (Kindle, Nook, etc.).

Can I print an eBook?

You can print individual pages of library eBooks. How many pages you may print will depend on the publisher's permissions.

Can I download an eBook?

While generally not recommended, eBooks can be downloaded one at a time for a 24 hour period. Please view the eBook Download Tutorial if you need assistance with this process.

Who do I contact if I need more information?

Library staff at Cerro Coso Community College can answer your questions about using eBooks. Don’t hesitate to contact us!

Downloading an EBook

The best way to view Cerro Coso eBooks is online via a desktop computer. However, it is possible to download an EBSCOhost eBook for up to 24 hours of offline viewing. The instructions are located in the PDF tutorial below.