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Using The Online Catalog

With the Online Catalog, you can search for books, DVDs, audiobooks, eBooks, etc. You can request materials (place a hold) and also manage your checkouts, renewals, holds, reading history and preferences via your library account. Read these help tips to find the answer to most of your questions.

Help Topics

Search  |  BrowsePlace Holds  |  Renew Materials  |  My Account  |  My Lists  |  Text Messaging

Searching the Online Catalog

The Online Catalog: The Basic Search Screen
The Online Catalog: Basic Search Tips
Basic Search Tips cheat sheet (PDF - Right Click to Save)
What do I do if there are no results for my search?
What does "sort by relevance" mean?
Troubleshooting the "Stay logged in" feature of the catalog

Using baskets with search results

Browsing the Online Catalog

How to Browse the Catalog


How to Place Holds
Suspending, Activating, and Cancelling Holds
Advanced Hold Options
Group Formats and Editions

Renewing Materials

Renewing Materials through the online catalog

Your Online Account

How do I get an Online Account?
Logging in to Your Account
Forgot your password?
The My Account page
Account Preferences -- Personal Information
Account Preferences -- Notification Preferences
Account Preferences -- Search & History
What if I can't get into My Account?
Why Don't I Get Email Notices?

The My Lists Page

The My Lists Page
Creating a List
Seeing Your List in the Catalog
Setting a Default List
Adding to an Existing List
The Temporary List
Moving Items from a Temporary List
Actions for Items on Your Lists
Sorting Items on Your Lists
Adding a Note to a List Item
Deleting an item from a list
Deleting a List
Downloading a CSV file
Sharing Your List

SMS Text Messaging

Sending text messages from the online catalog



Group Formats and Editions

After you have done a search, you will see two checkboxes above your search returns: Limit to Available and Group Formats and Editions. Within the Search Results page, you can also refine your searches by selecting the Group Formats and Editions checkbox.

Checking the box results in what looks like a different set of search results but now the records are arranged into groups. Some groups are small. They might only have one item in them. Others might have many items in the group. The number of records represented by the group are displayed in parenthesis next to the title.

For groups having more than one format, you'll see the icons for the formats displayed under the title as in the picture below.

To place a hold on an item in the group:

  1. Click the Place Hold link. (If you're not logged in, you'll be taken to the Log in to Your Account screen so you can log in first. If you're logged in, you'll go straight to the Place Hold screen.
  2. Within the Place Hold screen, you can select the any available formats and/or languages.
  3. Continue to enter any additional hold information (such as Pickup Location), if needed.
  4. Click Submit.

NOTE: Selecting more than one format will not place all of these formats on hold. For example, you cannot select CD Audiobook and Book and expect to place both the CD and book on hold at the same time. Instead, your hold will be filled by whichever becomes available first, the CD format or the book format. If no format is selected, then any of the available formats may be used to fill the hold. The same holds true for selecting multiple languages.

For more information on Advanced Hold Options, see Advanced Hold Options help.

Why Don't I Get Email Notices?

In general, there are five reasons why someone won't get email notices

  1. Email notification unchecked in your account: the request for email notifications might either never have been checked in your account or it might have become unchecked. You can look in your online account and make sure that your email notification preference is set. This is found under Account Preferences > Notification Preferences
  2. No email address in your account: sometimes, when a new library account is created, adding an email address is overlooked. You can look in your online account and see what email address is associate with your account. This is found under Account Preferences > Personal Information. If no email address is there, you must contact your local library to have an address added. You cannot add an email address yourself.
  3. Incorrect email address in your account: an incorrect email address in your account can take one of two forms: first, the email address could be misspelled; second, the email address in your account could be an email address that you don't use any more or don't refer to very often. You can check your online account to see the email address associated with your library card. This is found under Account Preferences > Personal Information.
  4. Email re-directed into spam or junk folder: sometimes, because of some buzzword in the heading or body of an email from the library, the email can accidentally be mis-identified as spam or junk mail. Some email programs will automatically send mail like this to a folder labeled Junk or Spam. If you discover this is happening, set your email client's preferences to indicate that mail from a address is not spam.
  5. An issue related to the C/W MARS central email server: on rare occasions, an issue may arise at the email server level in C/W MARS that might cause you to experience a delay in receiving the C/W MARS mail. Besides being rare, though, this is usually a condition that it sorted out rapidly and your mail should get through.

How do I get an Online Account?

When you are issued your library card, an online account is automatically created. There is no extra sign up needed.

The technical name for the online catalog is Online Public Access Catalog or OPAC for short. When a library staff member  sets up your library account for you and issues you a library card, a part of the computer screen that s/he uses has a place to enter "OPAC User Name". This will be the user name that you will enter on the OPAC log in screen.

Typically, this user name is initially set to be your library card number. If you find it difficult to remember your library card number, you can ask the staff to change this user name to something you can remember more easily. Once you have successfully logged in to the online catalog, you can also change your user name  by yourself whenever you want.

Only library staff can create new library accounts and issue library cards. Individuals cannot create library accounts for themselves.