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Search Help and Tips
See also the Resource Sharing Searching Tutorials (PowerPoint)

TIP: Select unique words as a phrase from within the title.
Some of the catalogs will treat title searches as phrase searches within the title, while others will treat them as keyword searches within various title fields. Therefore, select distinctive phrases from the title that will also work as keywords, or do two searches: one with a title phrase and one with unique title keywords.

TIP: Journal titles are also retrieved through a Title search.
Since serials are the most often requested category of publication, the Union List of Marine and Aquatic Serials database is the first resource in the results list from any search of the Distributed Library. However, for monographic series, you should also search using "Any" rather than "Title" as the search option.

TIP: Do not use abbreviated journal titles in a search.
The generalized Z39.50 search protocols that enable a single search query to be run against so many different library catalog systems do not support truncation, nor will searches on abbreviated titles be successful. Instead, use two or three full words from the journal title with the "Any" search option if you are unable to decipher the full journal title.

TIP: Use the most unique author surname as your search term.
Author searches via Z39.50 are treated as keyword searches within the various author fields in most catalogs, so searches that include initials or even given names may not succeed. Try a Title or Any (keyword) search if your Author search fails.

See also the Resource Sharing Interlibrary Loan Tutorial (PowerPoint)

TIP: Send requests to smaller libraries or those whose holdings are included in the Union List of Marine and Aquatic Serials.
A number of large libraries have offered their catalogs for inclusion in the Z39.50 search system. In the case of institutions such as the University of Florida, the University of Oregon, or the NOAA Central Library, these online catalogs are union catalogs of many different branch libraries within each institution. However, the IAMSLIC members at those institutions may be located in only one or two smaller branch libraries. While they may be willing to respond individually to incoming ILL requests from other IAMSLIC members, they often cannot supply items from their main library's holdings. When you search these combined catalogs through the Z39.50 interface, the local holdings information about which branch owns a particular item is not available, therefore it is not possible to limit searches to only those branch locations where IAMSLIC members are housed.

TIP: Go directly to publicly accessible electronic versions of publications.
Many documents found in IAMSLIC library catalogs are publicly available as electronic publications, often in the Adobe Acrobat PDF format. If you locate a catalog record that contains a "Link" in the "Electronic Version" field, try to obtain the electronic version directly before placing an interlibrary loan request to borrow it.

TIP: Join IAMSLIC if you are not already a member and want to use the ILL system.
IAMSLIC has been actively engaged in resource sharing on an international basis for many years through its email discussion list. The interlibrary loan requesting module that is part of the Z39.50 Distributed Library is restricted to use by current IAMSLIC members. Please visit the IAMSLIC Website for membership information. If you are an IAMSLIC member and have questions about the ILL module, please contact Steve Watkins at California State University, Monterey Bay for assistance.

Return to Search the Distributed Library | About the Distributed Library | List of Participating Libraries

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