Learn how to perform different searches, navigate the results, and interact with the records in the Library Catalog by watching the video. Find books through MERLIN, MOBIUS, or WorldCat, and then choose the delivery method that best works for you.
Video: Overview of the Library Catalog
Overview of the Library Catalog
This is an overview of the MERLIN library catalog. There are several ways to get to the book catalog. If you click Books & Media, you can enter your search here. This will search the MU portion of the Library Catalog. If you want to, you could select to search the MOBIUS libraries. These are most of the academic libraries in the state of Missouri. The search box lets you search by keyword, by title, or by author. If you’d like more advanced search options, click Classic Catalog (MERLIN). That’s what I’m going to do.
Main Screen (Tabs): This is the main search screen. In the upper left is the MERLIN logo. MERLIN is the name given to the catalog of the four UM System Libraries. On the right is the MOBIUS icon. MOBIUS is a state-wide library network. MERLIN is a part of MOBIUS. In the middle of the page are your search options. The page defaults to Quick Search which allows you to do a keyword search, a title begins with, a journal & newspaper begins with, and an author search.
The next page is the Advanced search. This allows you to do keyword searches in specific fields and to tie them together with Boolean Operators. It also allows you to add limits.
Next is the Subjects search. These are searches by Library of Congress Subject Headings, medical subjects, or genre/form terms.
Finally, there are Numbers/Other searches. These are mostly used by librarians. Students do not use them very often.
Main Screen (Menu): On the right is New Search which brings you back to the search page, My Library Account which takes you to a page that shows the books you’ve checked out and allows you to renew them online, Course Reserves, MU Libraries (When you open that up, you can go to an individual library webpage. MU will take you back to the MU Libraries webpage.), a button to search MOBIUS, and finally, a Help button which has very good help.
Results Page: When you run many of the searches, what you retrieve is a results page. If you search for an author, you’ll get a list of authors. If you search by title or keyword, you’ll get a list of book titles. If you search by subject, you’ll get a list of subjects. This sometimes confuses students.
Let’s see an example of a results page. I’m going to search Title begins with. I want to search the word “platonic.” I’m going to make sure my search looks at only the MU campus libraries. What I have retrieved are a list of titles that begin with platonic and then go on from there. If I click the title of the book, I’ll be taken to the book record where I can find the call number so I can locate the book. On the right-hand column is the year the book was published.
Another search that often brings up a results page is an Author search. Here I’m going to search last name “Clay,” first name “D.” I’m going to keep it restricted to the MU catalog, and I’ll submit it. Here I have a list of the authors whose last name is Clay and whose first name starts with the letter D. If I scroll through, I see the person I want is named “Diskin Clay.” I’ll click his name. There I’ll retrieve a list of books by title. If I want to, I can just stop and get the call number from here, or if I click, I can find out a little bit more about the book by going to the book record.
The other search that brings up a results page is a Subject search. Here I’m going to search by Library of Congress Subject Headings. I’m going to put in “platonic.” Searching the MU campus, I’ll submit it. What I do is get a list of subject headings. The first one I see says “Platonic Academy of Florence – See Academia platonica (Florence, Italy).” That’s a cross-reference. Then there are the titles of the subjects, “Platonic Love” and so on, and the number of books attached to that subject. If I want to see those books, I merely click the subject heading and I’ll get a list of those books, the title of the book, and also the call number of the book. If I want more information, I can click the title of the book to go to the book record.
Record Page: The record page is a more complete description of the book. The author and title are given as well as the publication information. A description of the book is provided: the number of pages, whether is contains illustrations. If there is a table of contents, the contents are listed. The notes tell you if there’s a bibliography in the book. That can be very useful to know. Subjects are assigned by librarians. If you can find a good subject, you find all the books in the library about that topic. Finally, there are numbers: ISBN numbers, OCLC numbers. These are useless for finding the book and you want to ignore them.
Locate Your Book: If you are trying to find the book in the library, you want to come up here. There are three elements. The Location tells you first which campus the library is on. The second element is the name of the library the book is located in. Sometimes the Ellis Code is followed by a more specific Location Code. The most common ones are Reference which is in the middle of the first floor, Special Collections which is on the fourth floor of the library west side, Government Documents which is on the first floor east side of the library, and Juvenile which is in 3 West. If the book is in one of those locations, you must go to that location to find the book.
Next is the Call Number for the book, and finally, there is the Status of the book. This particular book is checked out and the due date is given. If the book were available, it would say Not Checked Out. Other Status Codes include In Transit which means it is being shipped between libraries and Lib Use Only which means it’s either a reference book or it’s a book up in Special Collections. If the book is in Ellis Library, you can determine what floor it is on by clicking MU Ellis. A book location guide comes up. Our call number “B” is between B and HE so it would be on 3 East. We’d go to the third floor of the library east side to find that book.
Record Page (Cont.): The record has two tabs. The first is Location which we are looking at and the second is Find Similar Items. What that does is pull the author, title, and subjects up so you can search them. If I search “Diskin Clay,” I will get all the books in the library written by him. If I click the subjects “Plato. Dialogues.,” I’ll get all the books in the library with those subject headings.
Finally, next to the call number is a Nearby on shelf button. If you click that, you’ll be put in a call number browse. The book you’ve searched will appear and all the books around it. It’s like browsing the shelves without going to the shelves.
Other Features: One of the strongest features of the catalog is the ability to search other UM libraries and to request books from those libraries, or to do a MOBIUS search and search other libraries in the state of Missouri and request books from them. Watch the video “Requesting Books” to see how to do that.
Thanks for watching, and if you need any help, come to the reference desk at Ellis Library.
Request books from any of those libraries where available copies are listed.
The usual turnaround time is three work days (not including weekends or holidays).
Allow time to request the items you need because turnaround times can vary.
Search the MOBIUS catalog if you live in Missouri and would like to pick up your books somewhere other than one of the MU Libraries.
Search WorldCat (across the U.S.):
WorldCat is a catalog of materials from libraries' worldwide. It includes over 170 million records.
When you find a record for an item of interest, click the link to see if the item is available from MU.
If it is, follow the normal procedures to request the item be sent to you.
If the item is not available from MU, click the
link to ask that it be borrowed from another institution.
Reciprocal (in-person) Borrowing Privileges in Missouri and U.S.:
Visiting other MERLIN/MOBIUS Libraries
MU faculty, students and staff who are in good standing (no billed books or unpaid fines or blocks on their circulation record) may go to any other MERLIN/MOBIUS library, which includes the Columbia, Kansas City, Rolla, and St. Louis campuses of the University of Missouri, and present their MU ID card and borrow books held in those libraries, if they are Available in the MERLIN/MOBIUS catalog.
Select any MERLIN or MOBIUS Library on the pull down menu as a PICKUP Location and ask that items you request be sent to those locations.
This is a convenient service for distance learning students, faculty and staff working in extension offices, and anyone else who is away from their home library for an extended period.
Visiting patrons are subject to the loan period set at the time of checkout by the lending library for each book as well as any other restrictions (such as, but not limited to, the number of items that may be checked out).
If you have any questions about whether or not you may check out an item, you may check with Ellis Circulation by calling (573) 882-3362 and ask to speak with a supervisor before you drive to another library.
Students not residing in the United States may be eligible for borrowing privileges at local libraries.
We do not mail books outside the United States.
Off-campus faculty living in Missouri or outside Missouri can also request books.
Search the Library Catalog for books (MU Libraries, UMKC, UMSL and MS&T)
Click on the Request tab in the UM LIBRARIES CATALOG or MOBIUS to start the process:
If you live in Missouri within a short distance of a MOBIUS Library, you may use that library as the place to have books delivered for you to check out:
Request all items through the MOBIUS Catalog, even those held in the MERLIN Libraries.
If you do not live near a MERLIN or MOBIUS Library:
Choose MU Ellis Circulation as your pick up location.
When you receive the email note telling you that the book has arrived and is ready for you to pick up, reply to the note or contact the Ellis Circulation desk at firstname.lastname@example.org or 573-882-3362.
Tell the Ellis Library Staff that you are a distance learning student and would like the book mailed to you.
Include an address that has a street name so that we may use UPS or FEDEX for delivery.
If you do email the message back to the address given above, the book will be placed on the Ellis Library Hold shelf waiting for you to personally pick it up!
The Libraries pay the shipping to the DL student or extension faculty on the sending side. Shipping is by UPS so distance does not matter but the Libraries do not ship internationally.
Students and faculty are responsible for the cost of sending the materials back to the Libraries. To return items to the Libraries, you must use a system that tracks mail (FEDEX or UPS).
Please return items to:
MU Ellis Circulation Desk
102 Ellis Library
1020 Lowry Mall, MU
Columbia, MO 65201
Attn: Distance Learning Loan