How To Use The Online Catalog

The Online Public Access Catalog (OPAC) is a useful tool for browsing our collection, finding specific titles and ordering materials online. The OPAC is also a good way for computer savvy friends or family members to order materials on your behalf.

The most basic function of the OPAC is the ability to browse our entire collection. It can be used to look for something specific or general. This guide will focus on basic searching, which is the default mode. If you are searching for something specific, you may want to use the advanced search option, which allows you to conduct a multiple term search. 

Accessing OPAC

The OPAC consists of a navigation menu and the main area where searches are conducted and information is displayed.

Once the OPAC screen has loaded, the next step is to log in. In order to log in you will need your username and password. Both can be obtained by contacting the Library. To access the login screen click the "Patron Information" link. Input your username and password and click on "Login."

Conducting a Search

To conduct a basic search you first need to determine what you are looking for and what information you have (title, author, etc.).

  1. Enter your search term into the "Search for" edit box and check off the appropriate category (author, title, subject, or annotation) in the "Search index" line below the edit box (default is author). Subject searching requires that you use specific terms from the Perkins Library's controlled vocabulary (e.g. mystery, New England interest), whereas searching the annotation is more of a keyword search in the item's paragraph description.
  2. Next, you may choose to select parameters from the pull down menus to further refine your search, otherwise the default is to include all records.
    • "Availability" allows you to view records for items we currently have in stock or all items.
    • "Media" allows you to select your desired format, whether it is cassette, braille, large print, descriptive VHS or descriptive DVD.
    • "Language" is set to all languages by default, so if you'd only like to receive results in English, you can limit there; the same goes for other languages such as Spanish or French.
    • "Age/Reading Level" is more relevant when ordering materials for younger readers and allows you to specify the grade level or general reading level.
    • "Fiction/Non-Fiction" allows you to limit your results to just fiction, just nonfiction or both.
  3. Click on the "Submit Search" button. A results screen will appear. Click on the title link to see more detailed information on any item.
  4. To order books directly through the OPAC, check off the boxes next to the items you want and click "Add to Book Basket".
    Alternatively, if you have book numbers, you can click on "Place Requests" in the navigation menu, then "Request by book #". Enter in the item number (e.g. RC55555) and hit return between each item to separate them. Click "Add to Book Basket" when you finish entering your list.
  5. Once you are done adding books to your basket, click "Proceed to Check Out". Upon clicking "Proceed to Checkout" you will see the Reserve/Request Confirmation screen confirming which titles are being shipped to you.
  6. Another useful function of the OPAC is the ability to review what items you have checked out and what requests or reserves you have on file. You may also delete an item you no longer wish to receive by clicking "Delete" next to the appropriate item.
  7. In order to view items currently out to you, click on "Has Now".
  8. To see what is waiting on your request list, click on "Reserve/Request".
  9. Once you have finished using the OPAC, please log out by clicking on the "Logout" link in the navigation menu.

If you would like a more in-depth training, you can visit the Carroll Center for the Blind and sign up for their online training course. This course is offered free of charge through a partnership with the Perkins Library.

Please contact the Perkins Library if you have any further questions on using the OPAC.