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Online Public Access Catalogs (OPAC)

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An Online Public Access Catalog (OPAC) is a computerized database of a library's holdings. In most libraries, OPACs have replaced the card catalog.

OPACs offer several advantages over the traditional card catalog. For example, there are more advanced searching options than the usual author, title, and subject. In addition, a computerized system enables a library to offer remote access to the catalog - that is, access from outside the physical library - enabling you to search from your home computer.

A record in an OPAC represents a book, a DVD, a CD, or other library materials. Each library decides what type of materials, other than books, are contained in its database or OPAC. Of course, there are magazines, maps, and newspapers, but there may also be videos, films, photographs, sound recordings, or art. Each of these items has its own record. The format (whether DVD, ebook, etc.) is identified in the description field. Look at the Description and Notes fields in the following record.

bibliographic record

The contents filed contains a list of topics covered in the 3 DVD's. This information would be useful for students taking political science and philosophy classes.


The next record represents the book Anne Frank Remembered: The Story of the Woman Who Helped to Hide the Frank Family. Notice all the different fields on the left side of the record.

RECORD 1 out of 1  

 

Holdings

Is it here? Click to see all copies and locations.

 

Author

Gies, Miep, 1909-

 

Title

Anne Frank remembered: the story of the woman who helped to save the Frank family.

 

Imprint

New York:Simon and Schuster, 1987.

 

Descr.

252 p., [24] p. of plates: ill.;25 cm.

 

Call number

940.5318092G455an General Collection

 

Gen. note

Includes index.

 

Per. Sub.

Gies, Miep, 1909-

 

Per. Sub.

Frank, Anne, 1929-1945,

 

Subject

Righteous gentiles in the Holocaust--Netherlands--Amsterdam--Geography.

 

Subject

Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)--Netherlands--Amsterdam.

 

Subject

Amsterdam (Netherlands)--Ethnic relations.

 

Added Entry

Gold, Alison Leslie.

 

Document Type

Books
Illustration

 

ISBN

0671547712

 

Sys. no.

000067531

 

Holdings

Is it here? Click to find all copies and locations.

 

In the record above, "Frank, Anne" is listed in a subject field. This is because the book is about her, not written by her.

If you have an English assignment to read books by a particular author, you enter the author's last name, then the first name and limit your search to the author field. If, however, you are supposed to find critical works or commentary about the author, you enter the name, but you limit your search to the subject heading field.

Subject seach for Saul Bellow

Whenever you do a search, you have the option of limiting your search to a particular field. The searchable fields are:

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