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Alerts: MERLIN emails

MERLIN emails

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

screenshot of MERLIN log in page

2. Click the "New Search" button on the right of your screen.

screenshot showing new search button

3. Search normally with the search you want to receive email updates about. Then click the grey "Save as preferred search" button. (For searching tips, go to the MERLIN FAQ page.)

screenshot of "save as preferred search" button


4. Click the "Return to My Account" button on the right of the screen.

screenshot showing "return to my account" button

5. Click "Preferred Searches." This is on the left of the screen.

screenshot showing the "preferred searches" button in MERLIN

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

screenshot of "preferred searches" page

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. Ellis Library)?

Click the grey "Request" button (either in your list of results or on the item's page) and choose where you want the book to be sent. For more help, go to the Borrow, Request, Renew page.

screenshot showing the "request button" in MERLIN


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.

screenshot of location menu in MERLIN

If there are no other copies in MERLIN, search for the book in MOBIUS and follow the instructions on the Request from Mobius guide.

If there are no copies in MERLIN or MOBIUS, log in and  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, refer to the MERLIN guide.

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

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

Go to the New Books tab.

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 the MERLIN guide.)

screenshot showing MERLIN location menu

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:

screenshot of MERLIN advanced search screen


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

screenshot of MERLIN advanced search screen


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, visit the Fun Stuff at the Library guide.

When searching MERLIN, there are many different options of what you can search. If you want to know more, MERLIN provides explanations for each search option.

screenshot of quick search form in MERLIN

Some special tips:

Boolean searching:

       For tips about using AND, OR, and *, see the Search Strategies guide.


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.

screenshot of MERLIN record

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.

screenshot of MERLIN record

Journal, Magazine, Newspaper Title:

An exact title search for journals, magazines, and newspapers. I would recommend searching through the 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 nearby on shelf" next to the call number, to see what is on the shelf and similar-in-topic to the book you are looking at. Be careful though, because this will list books from all over MERLIN.

screenshot of MERLIN record

ISBN, ISSN, Standard Number:

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