Using the Classic Catalog

The Classic Catalog includes records for books, journals, newspapers, conference proceedings, government documents, microforms, video, and audio recordings in University Libraries with the exception of:

  • additional collections and resources in Primo
  • Medical Library holdings in the Becker Catalog
  • articles in journals, newspapers, and other periodicals (use Find Articles, Databases, & Full-Text)
  • some maps, manuscripts, archival materials, and some individual titles in large microform sets (see Collections)
  • most documents published by the U.S. Government before 1976

Other catalogs and databases can be used to find these materials. Ask at a reference desk for assistance.

Help with Catalog Status Messages

Title searching retrieves titles of books, journals, newspapers, conferences, etc. The catalog automatically truncates your title search:

Example: TITLE: Engineering will retrieve Engineering, Engineering Alloys, Engineering Analysis, etc.

If you do not want the catalog to truncate your title use the | bar symbol:
Example: TITLE: Scotland| will retrieve Scotland but not Scotland Today or Scotland in Color

Search tip: If you wish to retrieve titles beginning with the word ‘a,’ ‘an,’ or ‘the,’ which are normally considered to be initial articles, (e.g., the title “A to Z, the Alphabet”), type the initial article twice when performing the search. For example, entering “A A TO Z, the Alphabet” will search for the desired title. Use this method to search for titles beginning with the German ‘an’ and the French, Spanish, and Italian ‘a.'[/accordion_tab

You can find journals, magazines, and newspapers by doing a regular title search. You can also use the “Journal, Magazines, and Newspaper Title Search” but you will need to know the city of publication for common titles:

Example: Time is listed as Time Chicago, IL

Titles of individual articles are not listed in the catalog. Use Primo to search by article title.

Author searching retrieves any type of author (individuals, organizations, conference names, composers, artists, performers, editors, etc.). Enter last name first for personal names:

Example: AUTHOR: Bronte Emily
Example: AUTHOR: American Institute of Physics

The catalog automatically truncates the name that you enter:

Example: AUTHOR: Cavan retrieves Cavan, Cavana, Cavanaugh, etc.

Subject searching retrieves only the official Library of Congress Subject Headings, and these can be tricky. (For example, the LC Subject Heading for the “French Revolution” is “France-History-Revolution,1789-1799.“)

If you are unsure of the correct subject heading for your topic, try doing a keyword search instead. Use the records you retrieve to identify the correct LC Subject Headings, and then do a new subject search.

Use keyword searching when you are unsure of the exact title, author, or LC Subject Heading. Keyword searching looks for the terms that you enter anywhere in the title, journal title, author, subject, series, notes, organization name, corporate name (including publishers), and many books’ tables of contents.

Multiple words are not searched as a phrase; they are AND-ed together. To search for an exact phrase, enclose your search string in quote marks. For more information, see the Keyword search tips.

Use Boolean operators (and, or, and not) to refine your search and use parentheses to nest them:


KEYWORD: plants and diseases
KEYWORD: beer or ale
KEYWORD: mexico and not new
KEYWORD: (ozarks or mountains) and missouri
KEYWORD: (cats or dogs or pets) and not laboratory

Use the asterisk * to truncate your search terms; use double asterisks ** for more than 6 characters:

Example: KEYWORD: comput** retrieves computer, computers, computing, computation, etc.

You can limit your searches by:

  • material format (e.g.: musical scores, videos, etc.)
  • year of publication
  • language
  • where item is located (e.g.: Business Library, Music Library, etc.)
  • words in Author, Title, or Subject (except when doing a Keyword search)

After searching the catalog, on a results list you can click the box in front of any record to save that record, or when viewing a full record, click the Save Records button. A View Saved button then appears; click on it to view a brief listing of all your saved records.You can choose to email, view on screen, or save to disk your saved records in various formats. If you have any of these software programs, you can export records directly to Pro-Cite, or EndNote. The Full Display of records outputs all bibliographic information and the location, call number, and status of the item. The Brief Display outputs only the author, title, publisher info, and edition – nocall number, location, or status information.

Since the Brief Display doesn’t include call number, location, and status, please choose Full Display when printing records from the catalog. Since the Full Display of records can be quite long (many records now include tables of contents, for example), you might want to follow this procedure:

  1. Save your records as described above.
  2. On the ‘View Saved’ records screen, choose Full Display and Local Disk.
  3. When you click Submit, a window will open asking if you want to choose Notepad to open the file. Click OK.
  4. Edit the export.txt file in Notepad to remove whatever portions of the records that you don’t want – subjects, notes, tables of contents, whatever. You might want to insert a blank line between records to make the output easier to read.
  5. Choose File/Print and choose a printer. From that point, it’s the regular printing process (when using computers in the Libraries).

Please note that the catalog is set to time out, back to the main search screen, after 30 minutes if catalog inactivity. The ‘view saved’ list of records (discussed above) is also cleared after 30 minutes of catalog inactivity.[INDEX TAG HERE]?[SEARCHTERM/S HERE]

Common index tags:

d for Subject c for Call Number
t for Title r for Reserve Course
a for Author p for Course Instructor
X (must be capitalized) for Keyword o for OCLC Number

Replace spaces in search terms with plus signs (+)

Use the pipe character (|) to “untruncate” a search (useful when calling up individual records or picking subjects/authors/titles out of a browse)

Sometimes you CAN do a search in the Classic Catalog and copy the URL you see in your browser’s LOCATION window. This URL will work for awhile, but this a BAD idea for long-term use, because the URL will contain number references to the browse screen which will change when additions are made to the catalog. Such URLs are also longer than they need to be.
BAD LINK: http://catalog/search/a+le+guin+ursula+k+1929/1,1,48/item&a+le+guin+ursula+k+1929&4,,48

It is better to create a URL following the syntax above. For links to specific items in the Catalog, choose searches that will retrieve ONLY that item, such as a call number, ISBN or OCLC Number. To learn the OCLC Number, view the “MARC Display” and use the 001 field. Add a | (pipe sign) if the link retrieves more than one item.

Link to a specific record
OR Planes, by Ursula LeGuin
The Compass Rose: Short Stories, by Ursula LeGuin (using OCLC Number)

Link to a specific term in a subject browse
Do a subject search and add the | (pipe sign):–+Agriculture| Chinese Agriculture

Link to a general subject browse screen
Do a subject search WITHOUT the | (pipe sign):–+Agriculture

Chinese Agriculture

Link to holdings of a specific author.
Do an author search,+Victor,+1802-1885 (sometimes you may want to add the | (pipe sign) at the end) Washington University materials by Victor Hugo

Link to course reserve lists
Biology Course Reserve Lists
Use the “Permanent URL for this record:” which each record in the Classic Catalog has:; the ~S2 is optional.

Put your mouse on WUSTL full text link. If the link begins with we do not recommend using the ‘Permalink URL for this record.’ Instead link directly to the  eresource. One way to find the direct link:

  1. click on Marc Display button
  2. copy the URL from the 866 40 field near the bottom of the display. For example:

856 40 |zWUSTL full text|u
URL to use in your links is everything after “|u”, for example: