Michigan State University

MeL Minute : MeL Search Tips

Jon Harrison

Greetings Michigan Library Community,


Today we have some MeLCat search strategies that you may not be aware of courtesy of the MeLCat help desk.


First up, locating an item in a particular format. Did you know that you can include the format you desire in your keyword search (E.g., search for "catching fire dvd", "catching fire large print", or "catching fire large type" instead of just "catching fire".)? It makes searching for format a whole lot easier.


Another search tip for known titles is that numbers may need to be spelled out. Not always, but it does happen. If you can't locate a title when using a numeral, spell it out and see if that helps.


We know that some library staff are leery of using keyword searching but sometimes it will get you results that you otherwise can't. If you are unsuccessful using the phrase searches (title, author, series title, the various types of subject searches), try entering your terms as a keyword search in Classic MeLCat or use Encore (the MeLCat search on the MeL homepage).


A good trick to have up your sleeve is the ability to search quickly and easily for materials at a particular library. Each participating MeLCat library has a unique agency code. If you would like to find the holdings of a specific MeLCat library, include that library's agency code in a keyword search.  Note that all of a library's holdings may not be reflected in MeLCat.


And last but not least, a couple of good reminders:


  • MeLCat searching is not case-sensitive. (E.g., a search for "South Africa" is the same as a search for "south africa".)
  •  You can omit most punctuation. (E.g., a search for "earths children" is the same as a search for "earth's children".)


Happy searching!


Brought to you by Sean Cwiek of the MeL Team.


Want more information on MeL?  Stay tuned for the next MeL Minute available on many Michigan library listservs, email us at contact@mel.org,  visit http://mel.org, or sign up for the MeL Minute and other Library of Michigan e-mail lists via GovDelivery. We encourage you to share MeL Minutes with your colleagues and networks.





Sonya Schryer Norris

Library Consultant


Library of Michigan

702 W. Kalamazoo St.

Lansing, MI 48909







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