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Graduate Workshop 2011: Find Information while you Sleep: MERLIN emails

MERLIN emails

1. Log into your library account here. (Choose the "Your campus email username" option to log in with your username and password.)

Log in to your Merlin account here

2. Click the "Search Catalog" button.

3. Search normally with the search you want to receive email updates about. Then click the grey "Save Search?" button. (For searching tips, go here.)

4. Click the "Patron Record" button towards the top of the screen.

5. Click "Preferred Searches."

6. From here, you can re-run a search by clicking the "Search All" button next to it. Or, to receive email updates, check the box in the RIGHT hand column, and click "Update List."

7. If you are on a public computer, to log out of your account, you must close the browser.

An FAQ with further information is below.


What does this do?

By saving searches, you can be notified when an item that fit your search criteria is added to MERLIN. For example, you can be emailed when:

  • MU buys new books by your favorite author
  • When Ellis buys a DVD about Spain
  • When any MERLIN library adds a book about "rocket science"

If you skip step 6 in the instructions above, you can re-run the search whenever you want, but will not receive email updates.

How often will I get emails?

The searches are run every 2 weeks. If no new items match you search, you will not receive an email. You will never get emails more than once every 2 weeks.

How do I suggest that the library buys a specific book?

Log in and fill out this form.

What if the book I want is not at my home library (e.g. MU's Journalism Library)?

Click the blue "Request" button and choose where you want the book to be sent. For more help, see this page.

What if the book I want is checked out?

If you can wait until the book is returned, click the "Request" button, and you will be first in line when the book is returned.

If you can't wait, search MERLIN to see if another library has the book. If they do, follow the steps above to request the book from them.

If there are no other copies in MERLIN, search for the book in MOBIUS and follow the instructions at this page.

If there are no copies in MERLIN or MOBIUS, fill out this form.

What is MERLIN?

MERLIN is a library catalog. It has the books, DVDs, journals, CDs, etc that MU owns. You can search just for things that MU owns, or for things from other University of Missouri system libraries (like UMKC, Missouri S&T, and UMSL).

If you need help understanding what you see in MERLIN, look at this page.

You can't search article titles in MERLIN, but you can search them with  this article/journal finder and by searching Summon.

I want to see all the new books the library buys.

Go to this instructional page.

What are some MERLIN search tips?

When searching MERLIN, make sure you are paying attention to what you are searching. If you only want to find things at the MU libraries and library storage, make sure you choose "MU." To search everything in MERLIN, search "All MERLIN." (If you need help understanding what you see in MERLIN, look at this page.)

MERLIN has a powerful advanced search you can use. If I wanted to see a chronological list of books written in English and published after 2005 that the MU Engineering Library has about bridges, this is what it would look like:

If I wanted to see what videos released before 1980 that Ellis library has, this is what it would look like:

Searching for videos and sound CDs are tricky, so follow these steps:

  • To search for videos, add the keyword "videorecording" to your search.
  • To search for sound CDs. add the keyword "sound recording" to your search.

For more tips on how to search for "fun things" like fiction and audio books, go to this page.

When searching MERLIN, there are many different options of what you can search. Here are a few explained.


This is the most basics search. If you search "cats," MERLIN will find any book with cats in the subject, author, table of contents, etcetera. For tips about using AND, OR, and *, see this page.


Only search this if you know the exact title.


This searches for the author as the Library of Congress classifies him/her. An example is "Smith, Mr. (John), 1662-1717." I would recommend starting with a keyword search with the author's name, opening a book they wrote, and then clicking on their hyperlinked name on the top of the record to see everything we have of theirs.

Subject (LC):

This searches for the subject as the Library of Congress classifies it. An example is "Europe -- History -- 18th century -- Newspapers -- Early works to 1800." Instead of using this to search, I would recommend finding a book on the topic you are interested in, and then click the hyperlinked LC subjects to find more books on the topic.

Journal, Magazine, Newspaper Title:

An exact title search for journals, magazines, and newspapers. I would recommend  searching thorough the article/journal finder instead.

LC Call Number:

You can search by call number. An example call number is "WG500 .D611 1985." When looking at an item in MERLIN, you can click the little "more like this" button next to the call number, to see what is on the shelf next to the book you are looking at.

ISBN, ISSN, Standard Number:

Every book has a unique ISBN, and journals have ISSNs. You can search the 10 or 13 digit variations.

Contact for Assistance

Ashley Nelson
(573) 882-1670

Ellis Library Reference
(573) 882-4581
Ask a Librarian