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Information Literacy: 10. Library Catalogs

Strategies used to incorporate research skills for the College of Arts and Sciences and the Graduate School of Management.

What are Library Catalogs?

A library catalog is a database containing a record for each item the library owns.  Database With File DrawerThis includes all the books in the library, as well as videos, journal subscription records, sound recordings, e-books, links to selected web pages, etc. Catalogs are usually for a single library or institution, but they can also be for a consortium. At Willamette, we offer the ability to search all three kinds. 

  • Local catalogs:

    cover just what items are available locally.

  • Regional catalogs:

    encompass the holdings of several institutional libraries within a given proximity of each other, like our catalog.

  • Global catalogs:

    incorporate the holdings of libraries from multiple nations.  OCLC's WorldCat is a great example of a global catalog.

Search the Catalog (4:01 mins)


Learn how to use the catalog to search for books, articles, videos, and more through Summit, our regional lending system, and locally from Willamette. Additional info is available on the Library Catalogs page.

Willamette's Catalog

Willamette shares a regional catalog system with 37 academic libraries in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. It is the main way to search for books within our library and the other Summit libraries,  as well as the millions of other items including videos, CDs, journals, e-books, etc.

catalog search screen

While our shared catalog also covers a huge selection of journal articles, it is usually more efficient to use article databases to search for journal articles. 


  • has a specific item
  • subscribes to a particular magazine or journal
  • determine if an item is checked out or available
  • determine location and call number for library materials

Unique Research Features of the Willamette Catalog

Our catalog has many useful features that will help you be a more efficient researcher.  Below are just a few of the features you could use, such as limiting to materials within Willamette's collection, peer-reviewed journal articles, and full-text availability.  Sort your results by relevance, publication date, popularity, author, and title. 

In the top right corner, you can view any materials you have selected in your virtual "e-Shelf." View items you currently have checked out under "My Account," and view any saved search queues so you can quickly redo them.   

My Account


The "Expand My Results" incorporates additional databases and external resources that are not necessarily available through Willamette or Summit; these resources are still available through interlibrary loan.  Results can also be limited by resource (material) type, subject, author/creator, collection, specific publication date ranges, language, Library of Congress call number, journal title, and more.

baseball search results


When you click on a title, the availability of the item is indicated.  If an item is available, it will provide the details for getting a copy of an item, such as the call number for books or how to access an article.  If an item is not available, you should be provided an option to request the item through Summit or Interlibrary Loan. 

baseball catalog book item display


You can also obtain a permanent link to an item or the citation info under the "Send to" area. 


Willamette University

Willamette University Libraries

Mark O. Hatfield Library
900 State Street.
Salem Oregon 97301
Pacific Northwest College of Art Library
511 NW Broadway.
Portland Oregon 97209