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MeLCat Help

 

Introduction to MeLCat

MeLCat is an online catalog and delivery service that allows patrons of hundreds of participating Michigan libraries to borrow materials - books, movies, CDs and more - from all over the state and have them delivered to their home library. This page will help you to locate materials more easily and answer common questions such as how to find large print and audio books and what to do when your initial search is unsuccessful.

 

Table of Contents

RECENT CHANGES TO AUDIO-VISUAL BORROWING POLICIES REGARDING MATERIALS SUCH AS CDs and DVDs MAY AFFECT YOU

General Search Hints

Locating Materials in Large Print, Audio Format, and Braille

eBooks

MyMeLCat - Your MeLCat Record

Requesting Multiple Books at One Time

Basic Searches

Other Searches

Search Results Message Decoder

Printing, Saving, Exporting

Requesting

MeLCat Participation

Audio-visual Borrowing Policies

If you are attempting to borrow audio-visual materials such as books on CD or DVDs you may receive the error message "Sorry, MeLCat policy does not allow your request. Please contact your home library for assistance."

Participating libraries are required to make their circulating book collections available for loan. Special collections, including audio-visual collections, may be made available at the discretion of the supplying library. Participating libraries that wish to borrow audio-visual materials must make some portion of their locally circulating audio-visual collection available. Libraries with no locally circulating or otherwise restricted audio-visual collections may apply for a waiver of this requirement. Libraries are encouraged to be generous about lending their circulating materials.

Materials with a status of available in the patron's home library will not be requestable through MeLCat.

Library patrons may contact their home library with any questions about the choice their library has made regarding A-V lending/borrowing via MeLCat.

General Search Hints
  • MeLCat is not case-sensitive. (E.g., a search for "South Africa" is the same as a search for "south africa".)

  • You can omit most punctuation. (E.g., a search for "earths children" is the same as a search for "earth's children".)

  • Numbers may need to be spelled out.

  • If you are unsuccessful using the phrase searches (title, author, series title, the various types of subject searches), try entering your terms as a keyword search.

  • Each participating MeLCat library has a unique agency code. If you would like to find the holdings of a specific MeLCat library, include that library's agency code in a keyword search. Examples of keyword searches are provided below. Note, however, that all of a library's holdings may not be reflected in MeLCat. You may also want to search the library's catalog directly.
Locating materials in large print, audio format, and Braille

MeLCat libraries agree to make their circulating book collections available for loan; however, it is each library's decision whether or not to make special collections, including audio-visual collections like CDs and DVDs, available for MeLCat requesting. Libraries are encouraged to be as generous as they can about lending their audio-visual collections, but it is a local decision.

A variety of strategies can be used to find materials in audio format and in large print. Note, though, that none of these methods will individually retrieve all such materials.

  • To find books on tape, books on CD, or other sound recordings in MeLCat, search for the author, title or subject in which you're interested. Then, from the results screen, choose "Limit/Sort Search." Choose the type of sound recording in which you're interested and click on the "Limit/sort items" button. (Please note that limiting by type of material is not currently available from the keyword search results.)

  • To find large print books in MeLCat, keyword search (large type books) or (large print) You can also add other words to the search: grisham and ((large type books) or (large print)).

  • To find Braille materials in MeLCat, key word search in the title field for the word Braille.

  • Individuals who are blind or visually impaired may also be interested in audio cassette book and/or Braille service from a statewide network of libraries for the blind and visually impaired. These books are not in MeLCat. Call 800-992-9012 for more information.
eBooks

eBooks that appear in the MeLCat catalog are only accessible to patrons of that particular participating MeLCat Library.

MyMeLCat

To view your MeLCat patron record, select your library from the list of participating libraries below. From your record, you can check the status of your requests, cancel requests, and renew MeLCat materials.

Requesting Multiple Books at One Time

Materials on MeLCat must be ordered one at a time - there is not currently a method to put books in a "shopping cart" or other holding area and check them all out at once.

Basic Searches Available

Title

Type as much of the title as you want, beginning with the first words. Omit initial articles (e.g., The, A, An).

Examples:

  • I know why the caged bird
  • I know why
  • Taming of the Shrew
MARC fields/subfields included in this index: title, alternate titles, former titles, uniform titles, and series titles. Title subfields from other fields are also indexed.

Author

Type the author you want to find, last name first. You may also type the name of a composer, performer, organization, or governmental body.

Examples:

  • angelou, m
  • beatles
  • gibbons, kaye
  • michigan governor
  • american medical association
MARC fields/subfields included in this index: personal names, corporate names, and meeting names. Author subfields from other fields are also indexed.

Keyword

Type the keyword(s) you wish to find. The system will interpret the words as a phrase unless you separate them with connectors: "and," "or," "and not" or "near."

To:
  • find words with similar meanings, type "or" between words (e.g., cats or kittens)
  • combine different words/concepts, type "and" between words (e.g., tropical and travel)
  • find words with different endings, type an "*" (asterisk) at the end of the word (e.g., comed* will find comedy, comedian, comedies, comedians, etc.)
  • find words that are near each other, type "near" between words (e.g., algebra near theory)
  • find materials that don't include certain words, type "and not" between words (e.g., dogs and not retrievers)
  • find materials in a specific MeLCat library, type your search terms and the library's agency code (e.g., Michigan and zg002)
  • specify what groups of fields to search for your keywords, use a field abbreviation: t: (title), a: (author), n: (note), and d: (subject) (e.g., a:barr) You can combine tagged fields: a:barr and t:cat
MARC fields/subfields included in keyword searches: all fields included in the phrase indexes (titles, authors, series titles, subjects), most note fields, and publisher.

Series Title

Type as much of the series title as you want, beginning with the first words. Examples:
  • Series of unfortunate events
  • hitchhiker
  • earths children

MARC fields/subfields included in this index: traced and untraced series titles and series added entries.

 

Other Searches Available

Government Document Number

Type the U.S. government document (i.e., Superintendent of Documents) number you want to find. The use of spaces and punctuation is very important in these searches. Examples:
  • prex 1.2:AR 2
  • I 29.2:b 14/3

ISBN/ISSN

Type the ISBN or ISSN you want to find. Punctuation and spaces can be omitted. Examples:
  • 0060254904
  • 0034-0375
  • 00340375
Interested in learning more about International Standard Book Numbers (ISBN's)? Information on ISBN structure, national agencies, and more can be obtained from the International ISBN Agency. More information on the ISSN Program can be obtained from the National Serials Data Program (NSDP) within the Library of Congress.

OCLC Number

Type the OCLC number you want to find. Examples:
  • 45207913
  • 9962097
Note: Although this search is labeled "OCLC Number," it is more accurate to state that it searches the contents of the 001 field in the bibliographic record. The contents of this field is, in most instances, an OCLC number. However, libraries sometimes store other information in that field.

Other Standard Numbers

Type the number as it appears. Some types of standard numbers require the use of hyphens and other punctuation symbols; other types of standard numbers permit you to omit punctuation and spaces. Examples:
  • LCCN (e.g., 00046024)
  • Patent control numbers (e.g., 93-10007)
  • Publisher numbers (e.g., MPC3-CD) (You must remove the hyphens. E.g., MPC3-CD is entered as mpc3cd.)
  • GPO item numbers (You must remove the hyphens. E.g., 429-T-4 is entered as 429T4)
Other types of numbers are also included in this index. These include study numbers (MARC tag 036), source of acquisition (MARC tag 037), other standard identifiers (MARC tag 024), and technical report numbers (MARC tags 027 and 088).

Library of Congress (LC) Subject Headings

Type the Library of Congress subject heading you want to find. Examples:
  • children's rights
  • motion pictures
  • United States History Civil War, 1861-1865

The Library of Congress subject search uses a specific, controlled vocabulary for describing Library material. If you do not find what you are looking for in the subject index, try a keyword search or ask a Librarian for assistance.

The Library of Congress Authorities Database is also available online; it is, however, designed for use by library staff and may not be very helpful to others.

Medical Subject Headings (MeSH)

Type as much or as little of the medical subject you want to find. Examples:
  • neoplasms
  • diabetic retinopathy
The medical subject heading search uses a specific, controlled vocabulary for describing library material. Online access to this vocabulary, the MeSH Thesaurus, is available from the National Library of Medicine. If you do not find what you are looking for in the medical subject index, try a keyword search or ask a Librarian for assistance.

Children's Subject Headings

Type as much or as little of the children's subject heading you want to find. Examples:
  • Skeleton
  • ponies equipment and supplies

Children's subject headings are assigned to materials intended for children up through the age of 15 (9th grade). These headings are taken from a specific, controlled vocabulary for describing library material. If you do not find what you are looking for in the children's subject index, try a keyword search or ask a Librarian for assistance.

The Library of Congress Authorities Database is also available online; it is, however, designed for use by library staff and may not be very helpful to others.

 

Search Results Message Decoder
Message: Your entry bysons would be here.

The system was unable to find a record matching the information you entered. In an attempt to assist you in identifying the cause of this lack of results, the system puts you in a browse screen where your entry would have appeared.

Check to be sure you chose the correct index and typed your entry correctly. If you scoped your search to a specific region in Michigan, try a different region or a search of the entire catalog.

Message: Tried (icelandic cooking) no records found. . .  Your search query has been changed. . . Tried: (icelandic and cooking) 1 result found.

The system assumes that words entered into a keyword search should be treated as a phrase. In the event that it is unable to find any records with the phrase you entered, the system places the word "and" between each of the search terms you entered. If it is still unable to retrieve any records, it will automatically place an "or" between the search terms.

Check to be sure you typed your entry correctly. If you scoped your search to a specific region in Michigan, try a different region or a search of the entire catalog.

Message: Your entry falling liberty would be here -- Search as Words

If a title search fails to retrieve any hits, the system offers the option to convert the search from a title search to a keyword search.

Click on Search as Words to execute the search. You might also check to be sure you typed your entry correctly. If you scoped your search to a specific region in Michigan, try a different region or a search of the entire catalog.

Printing, Saving, Exporting

How Do I Print, Email, or Save Records?

  • Mark the records you would like to save from the results list. (You can also use the "Save All" button to save all the records on the screen.)
  • Choose "Save Marked Records."
  • Choose "View Saved."
  • Using the radio buttons on the left side of the screen, choose your preferred format.
  • Using the radio buttons on the right side of the screen, choose the export destination.
  • Click "Submit."
If you want to print your saved records, choose "screen." Then, use your browser's print button to print the file.

How Do I Clear Saved Records?

  • To clear all your saved records, simply click the "Clear Saved Records "button.
  • To clear selected saved records, click "View Saved."
  • Use the checkboxes to select the records you no longer want to save.
  • Click the "Remove Marked Records from This List" button.
Requesting

How Do I Request A Book (or CD or DVD)?

You may place a request from a search results list or from an individual record display.

Simply click on the "Get This For Me!" button or link. The system will present you with a list of participating libraries; select a library where you have a library card/borrower's account. Enter your name and your library card/account number. (Some libraries will also require you to enter your PIN number.) If your library offers multiple pickup locations, you will also need to select one from the list. Press Submit and the request is placed!

MeLCat Loan Policies

MeLCat loans are for 21 days. If no local holds are placed on the material, you may renew for an additional 21 days. Books may be renewed within one week (7 days) of their due date. Videos and some other materials may not be eligible for renewal. Depending on your home library's policies, you may not be able to borrow audiovisual materials. To renew books, go to your MyMeLCat record.

Please note that not all materials included in MeLCat are requestable. Each participating library decides which of its materials it will loan via MeLCat.

If the material you want is not requestable, you may be able to use the material by visiting the library in person. Be sure to call ahead to be certain that the material you want will be available.

Error Message Decoder

Message: Sorry, your ID number is not valid.
The number you entered to identify yourself was not found in the library's database. You may have chosen the wrong library from the list or mistyped your barcode/library card number. Click on "Regular Display" to go back to the record and click "Get this for me!" again. Then, try retyping your patron number.
Message: Request cannot be processed. Data in your record at your institution is incomplete.
The number you entered to identify yourself was not found in the library's database. You may have chosen the wrong library from the list or mistyped your barcode/library card number. Click on "Regular Display" to go back to the record and click "Get this for me!" again. Then, try retyping your patron number.
Message: You cannot use MeLCat to request items that are available at your institution.
MeLCat knows that your local library already owns this item and that it is not checked out. MeLCat policy only permits borrowing of materials not available at your local library.
Problem: Your library is not listed under the heading "Which library card do you want to use?"
Your library is not yet a participant in MeLCat. Contact your local library to ask them to request this item for you through traditional interlibrary loan.
MeLCat Participation

Why Isn't My Library Listed As A Participant?

Michigan libraries are being added to MeLCat regularly. Check with your library to find out when they expect to participate.

If you would like to borrow an item you find in MeLCat, contact your home library for assistance in getting a copy.

If you plan to drive to a library to use the item there, contact that library for its hours and policies before you go.

What is the Visiting Patron Service?

If your library participates in the MeLCat Visiting Patron Service, you may go to another library that also participates in this service and check out available materials in person. When you bring the materials to their check-out desk, they will use your home library card to check them out to you. Be sure to have a picture ID with you, as well as your library card.

These materials will be listed on your MyMeLCat account for you to check on the due dates and request renewals. You may return them to either your home library or the library from which you checked them out.



Library of Michigan
Institute of Museum and Library Services
This project is made possible by grant funds from the
U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)
administered by the State of Michigan through the
Library of Michigan.
Additional funding provided by the State of Michigan.



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