Philadelphia Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped
On-line Public Access Catalog (OPAC)


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On-line tutorial
Prepared By:  Philadelphia Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped
Revised JULY, 2007

Using the On-line Public Access Catalog 

Introduction. The On-Line Public Access Catalog (OPAC) provides complete access to information about every book in our library's collection. It displays the complete bibliographic record, so you can find out what books we have, what each book is about, who the author and narrator are, how long the book is, and whether a copy is available to borrow. Anyone can browse the OPAC.

If you are a registered borrower, you can also choose and order your own books using the OPAC. To use the OPAC, you need to have Internet access and a current web browser such as Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, or Netscape. If you want to use the OPAC to order books, contact your Reader's Advisor for your User ID and Password. The OPAC is completely accessible with screen reading technology. 

The first screen or Main Menu provides links to "Search the On-line Catalog", News and Regional Information", "Tutorial for New Users", "Send Comments to the OPAC Mailbox", "Search the National Library Service Database.", "  and "Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)".  Clicking on any of these  will bring up a new page which must be dismissed by clicking on the X in the upper right corner of the screen or the close button.

The web address for the OPAC is:

http://lbph.freelibrary.org/opac 


This tutorial covers the following topics:

Topic: Searching Methods
Topic: Working with Search Results

Searching Methods

Introduction.

The OPAC offers you many different ways to find books in the Library's holdings. The OPAC's search page allows you to perform searches based on one of five criteria: author, subject, word in a title, title, narrator or word in a series.  Additionally, you can search all media, or restrict your search to just one medium (Braille, cassette, record/disc, large print, e-text, video or digital books). You can also narrow your search results by selection from the drop down list of criteria for Lowest Reading Level, Highest Reading Level, Fiction/Non-Fiction, Language, accepts violence, accepts descriptions of sex, and accepts strong language. You can also order books using on-line versions of the Braille Book Review and Talking Book Topics order forms. If you know the book's Title ID (usually two letters plus four or five digits, such as RC54321 or BR12345) you can use it to conduct your search.

Media Types. 

For each search term, (author, title, subject, etc.) you may select one option from the list of media.

The following media options are available:
   Cassette, including NLS cassettes (RC) and locally produced cassettes.
   Disc, both rigid and flexible (RD and FD).
   Large print.
   Braille, both NLS (BR) and locally produced.
   Electronic Text.
   Descriptive Video
   Digital Books or
   All

The "All" option is selected by default. When you select this option, the OPAC lists all materials available for the search terms you entered, regardless of the media. You can reduce the results list by specifying the media you prefer. Conversely, you can increase the number of results by not specifying a media.

Ordering from Talking Book Topics (TBT) or Braille Book Review(BBR).

You can order directly from the latest issues of Talking Book topics and Braille Book Review by using the Order from Talking Book Topics link or the Order from Braille Book Review link. They both work the same, so information presented here referring to Talking Book Topics will also apply to Braille Book Review.

Each issue of Talking Book topics (TBT) is listed in six parts. For example:

2006-3 May-June--Books for Adults Cassettes Fiction
2006-3 May-June--Books for Adults Cassettes Nonfiction
2006-3 May-June--Books for Children - Cassettes Fiction
2006-3 May-June--Books for Children - Cassettes Nonfiction
2006-3 May-June--Foreign Language Books Spanish

TBT Search Results Screen Navigation Buttons.

When you activate the link you want, you will see the TBT Search Results page. At the top and bottom of the page are several navigation buttons as follows:

New Search Button (Alt+s).

Activate the New Search button when you want to start a new search. When you activate the New Search button, focus will take you out of the TBT area to a blank Search page where you can type in terms for a new search.

Return to TBT Index Hyperlink (Alt+t)

Returns you to the TBT index page.

View Book Bag (Alt+v).

Activate the View Book Bag button when you want to see what books you have selected during the current OPAC session. The Book Bag lists an entry for each title you have selected. You may delete entries from the book bag by clicking on the "Delete" link.  The checkout button is on the bookbag screen along with the textboxes to enter a patron ID and password.

Search Results.

The Search Results list begins with a reminder of the search you requested, the number of matches found, and the number displayed on the screen. An example is:

TBT Search Results
Subject is: Adventure-Nonfiction
Total 415

Below this heading is a table which displays the first twenty titles in the selected section of TBT. The search results appear in a table with seven columns: Select Link, Row Number, Book Number (ID), Author (last name first), Title, Media, and Selected/Not Selected

The results list is in the same order as TBT.

Media.

Media are displayed with a name such as "Cassette", "Disc", "Large Print", "Descriptive Video", etc.

Author.

The author's name is displayed the same way it is in TBT.

Title.

The "Select" link will toggle the "Selected/Not Selected column between "Selected and "Not Selected". Activating the Bibliographic link will display the TBT entry including the annotation for that book. 

 Number.

 The number column displays the Library's book number/title ID, e.g. RC60104.

 Next, Previous, and Last Hyperlinks.

 At the top and bottom of the table which displays up to 20 titles, you will find the Next, Last and Previous hyperlinks. Activating the "Next" hyperlink (by clicking on it) will display the next 20 titles in your Search Results.  Activating the "Last" hyperlink will display the last 20 titles in your Search Results.   Activating the "Previous" hyperlink will display the previous 20 titles in your Search Results.  The "Previous" hyperlink is only available after the first page.

Searching By Author.

The most common way to search for an author is by typing in the author's last name, followed by a comma, then a space, and the author's first name. Example: Michaels, Fern.

Occasionally, you may want to search for an author but are unable to remember the author's full name or are unsure of the spelling. Here are some suggestions to fully maximize the capabilities of an Author search.

1. You do not need to enter the full name. You can omit the author's first name if you are not sure of the name or its spelling. Example: Is it Stephen King or Steven King? In this example, you could type King in the last name field. The OPAC would generate a list of all books authored by anyone whose last name is King.

For closer matches you can type in King, Ste, omitting the last part of the first name. The OPAC will generate a list of books authored by anyone whose last name is "King" and whose first name begins with "Ste."

2. You can replace part of the name with an percent sign. Example: If you don't know whether an author's last name is spelled Anderson or Andersen, you can type Anders%n.

You can use a percent sign in both the author's first and last name. Example: typing l%is, sinc%r returns all the entries for Sinclair Lewis.

3. Do not type the author's middle initial, even if you know what it is. You will usually get false search results of zero titles found.

4. For authors whose first names consist of initials, use the following format: Tolkien, J.R.R. Do not type spaces between the initials, just periods.

However, if the first name consists of an initial and then a name, type a space between the initial and the name. Example: Cooper, J. David.

Searching By Subject.

 If you like to read books about a specific subject, you can conduct a search by subject. Most of the books in our collection have been grouped by subject. The OPAC will provide you with a list of over 600 subjects from which you may choose. Example: Suppose you like to read books by Philadelphia authors. You can search the OPAC for books categorized under the subject Regional Interest - Philadelphia Authors.

We encourage you to try subject searches to find something new! Here are some tips for searching by subject:

1. There are specific subjects for non-adult readers. Juvenile refers to preschool through middle school readers. Young Adult refers to high school and early college readers.

2. Some subject groupings are very broad; a search may result in thousands of matches. Currently, the only way to narrow the results is to select a specific media. Example: At the time of this writing a search for "Mystery - Other" and "all media" resulted in 4,201 matches. Restricting the search to "Mystery - Other" and "cassettes" resulted in 2,559 matches.

3. Some searches can take a long time to finish. The time it takes for the OPAC to find and display a list of results depends on your search criteria and the speed of your connection to the Internet. You may experience several minutes of delay before your search results appear. The subject groupings that result in the largest number of matches (and will take the longest time to appear) are:

Best Sellers - Fiction, 1990-1999
Entertainment - Books Into Movie
Family - Juvenile
Family - Other
Family - Sagas
General Interest - Easy Books
Modern Writing Fiction - Other
Mystery - British
Mystery - Other
Romance - Other
Science Fiction - Other
Westerns - Fiction

Searching by Word in Title.

If you are not sure of a book's full title, you may search for the book using a single word that may appear in the title. Here are some tips for searching by the Word in Title.

1. You can search for any ONE word in a title. Example: "I heard about a book where there is a murder in a cathedral." You can search for the word Cathedral and find T.S. Eliot's Murder in the Cathedral or Margaret Truman's Murder at the National Cathedral, along with a variety of other books that have the word "Cathedral" in the title.

2. To help you locate titles in a series, we have added a series search word to titles that have been identified as being part of series. If the series has a specific order, then a number is added to the title. The series search word is a unique combination of numbers and/or letters and is often an abbreviated form of the series title. Example: Murder at the National Cathedral by Margaret Truman is listed in the OPAC as MURDER AT THE NATIONAL CATHEDRAL; 10 CAPCRIMES. (In this case, Capcrimes is an abbreviation for Capitol Crimes.) The term PERRYMASON is added to all the Perry Mason mysteries without any numbering. Searching by the series search word results in a list of all the titles in our collection that are part of that series.

3. Any word you enter in the Word in Title search is assumed to be incomplete. Example: A search using the word "Dream" will find titles with Dream, Dreaming, Dreamer, Dreams, etc. Matching titles are displayed alphabetically by author and then by title.

4. If a word appears more than once in the title, the title will be listed in the results more than once. Example: A search using the word "Dig" will display a variety of titles. The book Digs and Diggers is listed twice, once for each time a variation of "Dig" appears in the title.

5. A percent sign (%) can be used if you are uncertain about the spelling of a word. Example: Many of our titles include the British spelling of honor - honour. A search for HON%R will display titles with both spellings.

Searching By Title.

 You can search for a book by its title. Here are some tips for searching by title.

1. Do not enter the word "A," "An," or "The" when the word appears at the beginning of a title, since too many books begin with these words. Example: to find the book entitled "The Great Gatsby", you can type "great Gatsby."

2. You can enter any number of CONSECUTIVE BEGINNING words in a title. Example: If you were looking for The Case of the Angry Mourner, you could type CASE OF THE ANGRY MOURNER or CASE OF THE ANGRY. Entering ANGRY MOURNER will result in zero matches.

3. The last word you enter is assumed to be incomplete. Example: A search for LITTLE PRINCE will result in both A Little Princess and The Little Prince.

4. The percent sign (%) can be used as a wild card in a variety of ways. For example, perhaps you are uncertain of the spelling several words. The title of the book is pronounced "The mammer zap and the donkey voo." A search for that spelling will result in zero matches. However, a search for MAM%DON will result in The Mamur Zapt and the Donkey-Vous.

You can also type the percent sign at the beginning of a title. Example: %MARK TWAIN results in 35 titles. Mark Twain without the percent sign locates only 19 titles.

5. Do not type punctuation in the title. Example: Searching for WHAT'S SO FUNNY, KETU? will result in zero matches. To locate the book, type WHATS SO FUNNY KETU.

6. You can search by both an author's name and a word in the title. Example: if you know that Nora Roberts wrote a book about a dahlia, you can type Roberts, Nora in the author field, then dahlia in the Word in title field. This search yields two records, both of them for "Blue Dahlia" by Nora Roberts.

Searching by Narrator.

 The most common way to search for a narrator is by typing in the narrator's last name followed by a comma then a space and the narrator's first name. Example: Askey, Bob.

If you don't remember the narrator's full name or are unsure of the spelling, you can use these search tips. (Note: Searching by narrator varies in some ways from an author search.)

1. You do not need to enter the full name. You can omit the narrator's first name if you are unsure of it. Example: Is it Anne Mullen or Ann Mullen? You can type in the last name, Mullen, or enter the last name and only the first letter or letters of the first name. Example: Mullen, A.

2. You can replace part of the name with a percent sign. Example: If you don't know whether a narrator's last name is spelled Pederson or Peterson, type Pe%erson.

3. If a narrator has an initial as the first name, use the following format: Linton, J.P. Do not type spaces between the initials, just periods.

Return to Topic List

Working with Search Results

 Introduction.

Once you have entered your search criteria, the OPAC generates a list of the books in the Library's holdings matching your criteria. The first 20 results will appear on the Search Results page. Each title is a link to the Bibliographic Details page for that book. Activating the link will give you detailed information about that title.

About the Search Results Page.

After you enter search criteria and choose the OK button on the Search page, a Search Results page appears listing the books found that match your search criteria. The Search Results page has a series of buttons at the top which are repeated at the bottom of the page. Between the two sets of buttons is the list of titles that match your search criteria.

 Search Results Page Buttons

Five buttons appear at the top, and again at the bottom, of the Results page: New Search, View Book Bag, Update Book Bag; Empty Book Bag and Checkout.

 New Search (Alt+s).

Activate the New Search button when you want to start a new search. When you activate the New Search button, focus will return to the Search page where you can type in terms for a new search.

Important! Do NOT use your web browser's Back button (Alt+left arrow in Internet Explorer) to return to the Search page and begin a new search. If you activate the Back button, you will lose any information you have entered in the current session.

 View Book Bag (Alt+v).

Activate the View Book Bag button when you want to see what books you have selected during the current OPAC session. The Book Bag lists an entry for each title you have selected. Checkout (Alt+c) on the view bookbag screen will activate the Checkout process for the books you have in your Book Bag and are ready to check them out. Before you activate the Checkout button, you must fill in the Patron ID and password text boxes..

Search Results.

The Search Results list begins with a reminder of the search you requested, the number of matches found, and the number displayed on the screen. An example is:

Search Results
Adventure-Nonfiction
Total 415

Below this heading is a table which displays the first twenty titles that match your search criteria. The search results appear in a table with five columns: Media, Author (last name first), Title, Number, and Add to Book Bag.

The results list is sorted alphabetically first by author, and then by title.

Media.

The name of the media such as "Cassette"

Author.

The author's name is displayed as last name, first name, and then middle initial. Some longer names may not be displayed completely. Examples: Wilder, Laura Ingalls will be shortened to Wilder, Laura Ingal; and National Library Service will be shortened to National Library Ser.

 Title.

Each title is formatted as a link. Activating the title link will display complete information about the book.

Long titles may not display completely. Example: The title Chicken Soup for the Soul; 101 Stories to Open the Heart and Rekindle the Spirit will be shortened to CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL; 101 STORIES TO OPEN THE HEART AND.

Number.

The number column displays the Library's book number, e.g. RC60104.

 Next Hyperlink (Alt+n), Previous Hyperlink (Alt+p) and Last Hyperlink (Alt+l).

At the end of the table which displays up to 20 titles, you will find the Next Button and/or the Previous Button. Activating the Next button will display the next 20 titles in your Search Results. Important: Be sure you have updated the Book Bag for all selections before activating the Next or Previous button or you will lose your selections.

About the Bibliographic Details Page.

Once you have selected a book entry from the results list by activating the link associated with it, the Bibliographic page for that book entry appears.

The Bibliographic page displays information about the book. At the top right of the page click on the X to return to the search results.

 Information about the Book

The bibliographic display screen contains specific information about the book with the most important information first (Book Number, Media, Author, Title, Annotation, Order Status, Copies on Hand, and Unfilled Reserves).

Click Here for a complete explanation of all fields on the Bibliographic Details Page.

Exit this screen using one of the buttons described above.

About the Book Bag

The Book Bag feature allows you to add as many books as you want in one session before you check out. You can conduct multiple searches, browse Talking Book Topics or Braille Book Review, and collect your findings in the Book Bag. At any time during your session, or when you are ready to check out, you can review your choices in the bookbag, remove books you decide you don't want, and choose which books you want sent immediately (Now), and which ones you want placed on your request list to be sent later.

Book Bag Hyperlinks and Navigation Buttons

At the top of the screen are 2 navigation buttons and 2 text boxes:


New Search Button Alt+s

Check Out Button Alt+c

Patron ID Textbox 

Password Textbox

Books in Your Book Bag

Below these buttons and textboxes is the table containing information about each book allows you to review and change items in your Book Bag. The table contains the following fields:

 

Delete Hyperlink

Activating this will delete the title from the bookbag

Select Hyperlink

Activating this will toggle the value in the "Send Now/Send Later" column between "Later", the default and "Now".

Row Number

This is the number of the row for a table entry

ID Number.

Each title is a link to the Bibliographic Details page.

Title.

Each title is a link to the Bibliographic Details page. You can review the information about the book and use the X button to return to the book bag when you are finished.

Media. 

Be sure that the media shown is one that you use. For example, some books are only available in Braille.   If you are not a Braille reader you will not want to select a Braille book.

Author.

The name of the Author.

 Send Now or Later

This option lets you choose whether to have the book sent immediately, (Now or as soon as it is available), or to have it placed on your request list and sent at some time in the future.  Use the "Select" hyperlink to control this value by toggling it between the Later and Now values.

Important: The default is Send Later. If you do not change this option for any of the books you've chosen, you will not receive the books in the near future. They will be placed on your request list and sent later when you return books.

Changing this option to Send Now for specific books will cause those books to be sent immediately or as soon as they become available.

Next, Previous, and Last Hyperlinks.

If you have more than 20 books in your book bag, the Next, Last and/or Previous hyperlinks will let you navigate the list twenty books at a time.

Exit this screen only after updating your book bag, and use the navigation buttons on the screen rather than your browser's navigation options.

About the Checkout Page.

Before you choose the Checkout button on the view Bookbag page, you should complete the Patron ID and Password fields.

User ID and Password fields.

Three fields must be completed before you can check out successfully. These are:

User ID (Alt+u).

Enter your User ID received from your reader ADVISOR. or It will be a combination letters and numbers.

Password (Alt+p).

Your password is a number of up to five digits. Your reader advisor will provide this number to you.

 

If you are an Interlibrary Loan Patron, you will get an additional screen with information to complete as listed below:

Borrowing Library Location.

This field is filled in with Philadelphia by default. Do not change this value.

Completing your Order

 After you have filled in these fields, you have four choices:

OK (Alt+o).

 Completes your order, and sends a confirmation screen.

Returns you to the blank search form.

Return to Topic List

Please note that books on reserve will be sent out as soon as they are available. 

   

To change author and subject preferences in your reader profile, please contact your reader advisor. 

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