Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Update to Browse the Catalog

Do you like to browse the shelves of a bookstore or library? Almost everybody does. It's an interesting and highly personal way to get to know what is on particular bookshelves.

Unfortunately, it turns out that browsing the shelves has never been one of the better ways to find information. You wind up missing lots of materials because you cannot always be sure that everything on your topic is placed together on the shelves. There are many reasons why physical books that you might consider to be on a single topic may not be shelved together. (For more information, see the section on Browsing in the AUR Library Information Wiki)

This is the way it has always been, since the days of the ancient Egyptian Empire and the Library of Alexandria, but it is especially true today since there are all kinds of electronic resources that can never exist on any bookshelves at all. The AUR Library Catalog has attempted to fix this however. We have created a method to Browse the Catalog for related items, which we have just updated.

As you see, it's still not a really easy task, but if you read the instructions, it should be much easier. The AUR Library has two classification systems: the Dewey Decimal System (Dewey), and the Library of Congress Classification (LC) and you will need to click on Conversion to Dewey or Conversion to LC to browse everything. Let's see how this works.

Let's say that you are browsing and find that you are interested in Ethics. When browsing the LC numbers you discover that you can click on BJ - Ethics and browse the catalog for our reoords on ethics, either in book form or in electronic form. But you can also click on Conversion to Dewey and discover that in the Dewey Classification, ethics is 170. Now, you are browsing everything in the catalog on ethics. This is because the records in the catalog contain either the Dewey numbers or the LC numbers or both.

There are still other resources that are not available in this way, primarily the big databases of journal articles. Why aren't they included? Because they don't have the LC or Dewey Classification numbers at all, so there is nothing to search. For these materials, you must use other methods. To find out how to search these resources (and more) check out our section on How to Find Information in the AUR Library Information Wiki.

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