Services & Policies - Spring 2001
On October 16th, NPLN (Northeastern Pennsylvania
Library Network), officially launched its
new website—located at www.npln.org and its new virtual online catalog.
Powered by OCLC's SiteSearch software,
the Virtual Online Catalog allows users to
search the catalogs of the eight participating
institutions simultaneously. The power of
the SiteSearch software is that it is able
to take the data from six different online
library catalog systems: DRA (University of
Scranton), Dynix (Marywood University, Luzerne
County Community College), Horizon (King's
College), Innovative Interfaces (Osterhout
Free Library), Sirsi (Scranton Public Library,
College Misericordia) and VTLS (Wilkes University)
and manipulate the data from these different
systems so that a meaningful search can be
performed.Searching NPLN's new Virtual Online
Catalog is easy! The following are some tips
and techniques to get the most out of your
From the NPLN home page, use either the scrolling
top bar or the text link at the bottom of
the page to select: Search Online Catalog.
Instantly you will be brought to NPLN's
Online Catalog. The first thing you need to
do is select what library or libraries catalog(s)
you are going to search. The catalogs have
been conveniently grouped by county (Lackawanna
or Luzerne), type (academic or public), all
libraries, individual libraries, or you can
create your own group by selecting from the
library catalogs available.
If you decide to create your own group of
library catalogs to search you must give your
group a name. After you select the libraries
to search and give your new group a name you
will be taken back to the first screen with
all of the library "groups" again.
At this point, select the name of the group
you have created to begin the search. (When
you are finished searching the NPLN Online
Catalog and the website, the group you have
created goes away and must be recreated again
if you return to the NPLN Online Catalog at
a later time.)
With your group selected, you will now be
taken to the main search screen. Take notice
of the labeled "tabs" above your
group's name. There are several choices
for searching: Titles, Authors, Keywords,
and Advanced. (The Browse tab is not currently
available for searching.) To use any of the
search features you must click on the individual
tab for the feature you want. The default
choice is always Keywords (notice that this
tab is highlighted, indicating that it is
in use.) Keywords are any words used in all
the indexed fields of a library's catalog
records. The blank space next to the "Search"
button is where you can type the terms you
are going to use in your search.
You can use the Boolean operators "and"
and "or" to combine the terms
that you are searching in the Keyword search,
e.g., television and advertising. The bar
on the left, after you perform your search,
tells the total number of items or "hits"
found. It also breaks the numbers of items
down by institution. You can click on an institution's
name to go to its listings. Two other options
that are available as buttons are: refine
and sort. You can refine your search by adding
keywords or limit by year, e.g., 1999-2000.
You can sort your search by Title, Author
or Date. Since the result list initially is
by institution, sorting by Title will allow
you to see if more than one institution owns
the same item.
The list of records that displays after a
search is performed is "brief"
records containing only: author, title, library,
publisher and description, which indicates
the type of material (book, videocassette,
sound cassette, etc.) located. Clicking on
an item's title will give you the "full"
record which includes the item's call
number, status (available, stacks, on-shelf,
checked in, checked out), the name of the
institution, and the location of the item.
Location is important because the records
for the Scranton Public Library and Osterhout
Free Library include the records of the Lackawanna
and Luzerne County Library Systems as well
as their local holdings. In other words, an
item may indicate Scranton Public Library
but its physical location may indicate that
it is located at the Abington Community Library.
Just Click on Us to Connect…Searching NPLN's
Virtual Online Catalog
Next to each record on your result list is
a box that can be clicked in so that a check
appears to "save record." This
creates a separate listing of items you may
be interested in. After "checking"
the items you are interested in, click on
"saved records" in the upper right-hand
part of the screen. The full records for only
those items you checked will appear on the
screen. At this point you can either print
the list of records by using your web browser's
Print command located under File, or your
can use the e-mail option located by clicking
the e-mail button on the screen.
The top right has other options that you can
choose from besides "Saved Records."
These include: Catalogs - this option
takes you back to the beginning to select
either a new group of catalogs or an individual
catalog; New Search - this option allows
you to start a new search using the group
you have currently selected; History -
this shows you all of the searches you have
performed and allows you to return to the
results; Help - this option reviews
what records are in the NPLN Online Catalog
and how to search the catalog; and Exit -
this option logs you out of the catalog.
There are other options for searching the
NPLN Online Catalog. To search by an author's
name, click on the tab to select "Authors"
and then type in the author's last name followed
by a comma and then the first name. The procedure
for searching for by an author's name is also
noted on the bottom of the screen.
To search for an item by title, click on the
"Titles" tab and type in either
the full title of the item you want or significant
words in the title.
Clicking on the "Advanced" search
tab allows you to combine and search Keywords,
Authors, Titles, Standard Number (ISBN or
ISSN), and Subjects using Boolean operators.
NPLN's Online Catalog has been a great success.
Students and patrons seem pleased at being
able to search so many area catalogs simultaneously.
It is the organization's intention to continue
to expand and enhance the services that it
is able to offer patrons through its online
catalog and website.
Please note: The NPLN Online Catalog is still
in production. Two of the participating institutions,
Luzerne County Community College and Wilkes
University are slated to be online in early
2001. Functionality issues are still being
resolved with each participating library's
catalog. Differences in catalog records may
create unusual search results.