To use The CAT, visit the University Libraries’ home page (www.libraries.psu.edu) and click on the link marked “Search the CAT.” CAT Help pages: Click "Help" in the blue menu bar at the top of any CAT screen.
For an easy-print version of this information, download the PDF: Quick Guide to Searching the CAT.
The “Quick Search” screen allows you to select from a powerful array of searches. From one screen it is possible to perform any of the main search types: keyword, browse, or exact search. This enables you to easily select the search most appropriate to your needs.
Use Quick Search when you have a basic topic in mind, and want to get results quickly. Advanced Search should be used for more complex searches. Quick Search performs three types of searches: Keyword, Browse and Exact.
To begin a quick search:
On the Quick Search screen, select “Title“ from the drop down menu located next to the search box. Enter the title of the book in the search box. Click on the radio button marked “Begins with (Browse)“ above the search box.
On the Quick Search screen, select ”Title” from the drop down menu located next to the search box. Enter the title word(s) that you know for the item in the search box. Click on the radio button marked “Keyword“ above the search box.
Go to Advanced Search. (The advanced search link is located on the right side of the main search page in The CAT.)
Enter the title word(s) in the first box. Select ”Title” from the drop-down menu next to the search box. Enter the author’s last name in the next box down. Select “Author” from the drop-down menu next to the search box. Click ”Search.”
On the Quick Search screen, select “Topic: Title & Subject” from the drop down menu located next to the search box.
Enter your topic word(s) in the search box. Click on the radio button marked “Keyword” above the search box.
If your search has found two or more items: Click on the ”Details” button beside a record that you are interested in to see more information about the item. On the ”Details” page for the specific item, look at the bottom of the record to see whether the item is available or is checked out. Unless the item has a due date listed, it should be on the shelf at the location indicated.
If the item is available, you will want to note the call number and location. If the item is not available or is held at another location, click on the “I want it” button to place a hold on the item or to have it sent from another campus.
Note: You can find the titles of journals in the CAT, but not the individual articles within the journals. If you are searching for journal articles on a specific topic, go to the Libraries’ homepage (libraries.psu.edu) and choose Find Research Guides by Subject. When you find your subject research guide, you will find a list of the databases you can use to find articles.
At the Quick Search screen, type the journal name in the search box, and select “Journal Title“ from the drop-down
menu. Then, click the “Begins With (Browse)“ radio button. The CAT will retrieve journal titles that begin with the words you type.
Another option is to select the “Exact” radio button. In Quick Search, type the journal name in the search box, and select “Journal Title“ from the drop-down menu. Then, click the “Exact“ radio button.
One-Word Titles: “Exact” is especially useful if the journal’s title consists of one very common word, such as
Science, Cell, or Time. “Exact” allows you to search only for journals that specifically match on the words you type. Keep in mind that you may still have to scroll down through the list of search results to find the specific journal title
that you are seeking.
First, go to the Advanced Search screen. There, type your subject word(s) in the first search box and select “Topic: Title + Subject” from the drop-down menu. Then, select “Periodicals” from the “Material Type” drop-down menu at the bottom of the screen.
Online Content: If the journal is available electronically, there will often be a direct link, labeled “Online Content.” Click this link to go to the database featuring the journal. Print Format: At the journal’s detailed screen, look at the “Locations” area of the record to see where bound and unbound issues of the journal are kept in the library. Note the call number for the bound volume(s).
Other ways to find online journals include Citation Linker and the E-Journal List which can be found on the Libraries’
BOOLEAN Operators enable you to narrow or expand your results.
Phrase Searching will retrieve your search terms in the order you typed them.
With allows you to search for terms in the same sentence of the same field (e.g. title, series, subject) in the record.