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Archive for Category: Computer
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Tips for Searching the Catalog

   Thursday, July 30th, 2009 - by: Brian Herzog, Head of Reference

Searching the library's catalog can sometimes be quirky, so here are a few tips explaining how it works, and how to more easily find what you're looking for.

Using the Basic Search
Basic SearchMost of the time, people use the Basic Search - it gives four options:

  • General Keyword: tries to match your search to anything in any field
  • Author Keyword: tries to match your search to anything in the author field, in any order
  • Title Keyword: tries to match your search to anything it the title field
  • Subject Keyword: tries to match your search to the Library of Congress Subject Headings field

Using the Basic Search is best when you're starting out, or know a little but about what you want to find. For instance, if you know some of the title and the author's last name, Basic Search is perfect. You can even use the General Keyword to combine words from the author and title.


Using the Advanced Search
Advanced SearchFor people wanting a little more control over their search, Advanced Search lets you set various limits. In addition the same four search options as the Basic Search, you can also:

  • Limit by Location (only see what's in the Chelmsford Library)
  • Limit by Format (search for only books, or only DVDs...)
  • Limit by Language (find only material in Russian...)
  • Sort the Results (by publication year, title, author...)


General Search Tips:
No matter which kind of search you do, here are a few general tips to improve your ability to find what you're looking for.

  1. Spelling is Important! Our catalog doesn't have a "Did you mean…" spell check feature, so if you're not sure of the spelling, use wildcards
  2. Pluralization Matters! Searching for gladiator will not also match gladiators - use a wildcard to search for both
  3. What Doesn't Matter: capitalization, punctuation and initial articles (The Memory Keeper's Daughter is the same as memory keepers daughter)
  4. Search Limiting

  5. Limit Your Search! The catalog searches all the libraries in the MVLC - to see only the items in Chelmsford, use the Advanced Search or click on Chelmsford in the Limit Box at the top of the search results page (and pictured here) and click the arrow button
  6. Use Wildcards! Wildcard characters let you build in some flexibility to your search. There are two kinds:
    • use * and the end of words (for instance, librar* will find library, libraries, librarian, etc.)
    • use ? inside of words (for instance, wom?n will find woman, women, womyn, etc.)
  7. Use Boolean Logic - including the words NOT, AND, OR (must be in all capital letters) lets you narrow a search, for instance potter NOT harry NOT beatrix

If you have any questions on the search tips above, or have questions about finding items in the catalog or on the shelves, please contact the Reference Desk at askus@mvlc.org or 978-256-5521.

Thanks to Tracy Swaim at MVLC for creating a list of search tips.

   Posted in Computer | No Comments »

Flash Drives at the Reference Desk

   Saturday, June 7th, 2008 - by: Brian Herzog, Head of Reference

Flash DriveTo keep up with changing computer technology, the Library started offering flash drives at the Reference Desk last year. Flash drives (also called USB drives, jump drives, thumb drives and memory sticks) let people store much more of their work in a smaller package, and they are more reliable than the old style 3-1/2" square floppy disks.

The flash drives now available at the Reference Desk are DataTravelers from Kingston, and cost $8.00. They can hold 1 gigabyte of information - which is the equivalent of almost 900 3-1/2" floppy disks!

Using your flash drive on a computer (whether in the Library or somewhere else) is as easy as saving to a floppy disk or the hard drive. Just plug it in (all Library computers have USB ports on the front), browse to your drive, and click save.

If you have any questions about flash drives in general, or need help using one on a computer in the Library, please contact the Reference Desk.

   Posted in Computer, Current News | No Comments »

New Database: Literary Reference Center

   Friday, September 14th, 2007 - by: Brian Herzog, Head of Reference

Literary Reference Center screenChelmsford Library patrons now have a new way to research books and authors: Literary Reference Center.

Searchable from either your home or the library, this database has full-text information on thousands of authors and their works. Content is broken down into a number of categories (plot summaries, synopses and work overviews, author biographies, literary journals, poems, short stories, classic texts, author interview and more). All search results are gathered into convenient tabs for easy organization.

Information can best be found in one of two ways:

  1. For broad searches on topics or subjects, use the Find: search box near the top of the screen
  2. To find specific authors or works, use the Browse Authors/Browse Works links near the middle of the screen

Other features include a Literary Glossary (for definitions of literature-related words), a timeline of works and their historical context, a research guide, help with citing sources, and frequently-updated books and author highlights.

Access to Literary Reference Center is funding by NMRLS. For help accessing or using the database, please contact the Reference Desk.

authors, books, chelmsford library, database, databases, library, literary reference center, literature, lrc, research

   Posted in Computer, Reference, Resources | No Comments »

New Library RSS Feeds Available!

   Sunday, May 20th, 2007 - by: Brian Herzog, Head of Reference

RSS iconLibrary patrons can now receive feeds from the book lists in our Reading Room via RSS!

Over 40 feeds are available, offering the New York Times best sellers lists, Staff Picks, Award Winners, and much more, all in your RSS reader. All of the feeds are listed on our Available CPL RSS Feeds page, with shortcut links to add them to popular feed readers.

Don't know what RSS is?
RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is a technology that allows updates to web pages, such as news, events, or book lists, to be sent to you, automatically, instead of you having to visit all those web pages to get the latest information. Kind of like reading new email in your inbox, RSS feeds are collected and read in an RSS reader, such as Bloglines, Yahoo! or Google Reader (or any number of other readers). Also, some of the new internet browsers (Firefox, IE7, Safari) can read RSS feeds, too.

This blog also has a feed, as do the other CPL blogs (all feed links are on the Available CPL RSS Feeds page). When you're on a webpage, look for an RSS (RSS Feed icon) or XML (XML Feed icon) icon to grab the feed.

If you have questions about these new RSS feeds from the library, or need help setting up a reader or accessing these library feeds, please contact the Reference Desk.
book feed, book feeds, book list, book lists, chelmsford, chelmsford library, feed, library, public library, rss, rss feed, rss feeds

   Posted in Books, Computer, Reading Room, Resources | No Comments »

Digital Audio Book Downloads

   Thursday, October 12th, 2006 - by: Brian Herzog, Head of Reference

Using the Overdrive Download StationHere's some great news for folks who like to listen to their books. You can now download mp3 audio books from the comfort of your own home through an exciting new Digital Download service available at the Chelmsford Public Library's website. Once you've downloaded the book you may then listen to it on your personal computer or on an MP3 player. Most books can even be burned to CDs. All that's needed is a valid Chelmsford (or MVLC) library card and access to the internet; you will be prompted to install Overdrive's free media console.

For more information on using Overdrive through the Library, come to our Downloadable Audio Book Workshop on Oct. 18!

Or, stop into the library for a demonstration - the Reference Department now has a download station set up in the library, where you can download right to your mp3 player. This is great for people with no computer at home, or those with slow connections or Macs.

   Posted in Computer, Overdrive, Programs | 2 Comments »

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