Answered By: Stephanie Folse
Last Updated: Oct 30, 2015     Views: 70

The library catalog contains records for all the physical items in the library collection (books, government documents, videos, music, maps, etc.) as well as links to several thousand online books and journals. Note that in the case of journals, the library catalog contains records for which issues of which journals the library has in print and online (for example, whether we have the July 1999 issue of Scientific American) but not the articles inside the journals (if there's not a link to an online edition of the July 1999 Scientific American, you'd need to pull that volume off the shelves to get to the articles inside it).

When to use the Catalog…

When you're searching for information other than journal articles (books, videos, music, etc.) that you know or are fairly sure should be in the library collection. Since the catalog contains a much smaller set of data than FrogScholar (app. 2 million records versus over 100 million), you may find what you're looking for more quickly by searching the catalog. The catalog also gives you ways to search that are not available in FrogScholar -- for example, by Library of Congress subject headings.

When not to use the Catalog…

  • When you're searching for journal articles.
  • When you have a topic in mind and want to get an idea of what is available on that topic without limiting your search to just what's available in the catalog. In this case, FrogScholar may be a better option.
  • When you're looking for specialized information, such as demographic statistics, financial data, market research, etc. In this case, one of the specialized databases on the library web site Databases page may be your best option.

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