Frequently Asked Questions and Search Tips

Find answers to your questions about Library Catalog + Articles and learn about strategies to improve your searches. If you would like to ask us a question, please email or ask for help using additional contact options.

What am I searching when I use the Library search box Catalog + Articles?

Catalog + Articles searches materials found in the Library Catalog, including books and ebooks, journals, maps, government documents, films, musical scores, manuscripts and photos, plus citations and full-text articles from 200+ databases. Catalog + Articles contains a broad range of resources, so it is a helpful starting point for cross-disciplinary searching.

Search Tips:

  • Use AND, OR, NOT (uppercase) to combine search concepts
    Shakespeare AND sonnets
    College OR university
    Programming languages NOT javascript
  • Use the wildcard operators ? and * to search for word variations
    Wom?n (searches for woman and women)
    Librar* (searches for library, libraries, librarian, librarians)
  • Use quotation marks to search for phrases
    “animal welfare”
    “plant ecology”

There are too many results when I use the ‘Library Search’ box on the homepage! How do I limit my search?

The right navigation bar provides many useful limits, including author, subject, and date. Ask Your Librarian about how to develop a useful search.

In the Library Catalog option, can I limit my search to see only what is available in particular campus library locations?

Yes, library location is one of the limits in the right navigation bar.

 Is there a Browse search option? 

To navigate to Browse searching, select the Browse button from the top navigation bar/ header in Library Search. Or if you are on the Library’s homepage, click on Browse Search link under the search box.

How do I browse journals by name? Where did the Journals A-Z list go?

Click Journals A-Z in the top navigation bar or header.

How do I search by Call Number?

To search by call number, use the Browse Feature – there is a link under the Library Catalog+Articles search box (Browse option is also available at the top of navigation bar/header of Library CAtalog + Articles homepage). Once you open up the browse feature, select which call number scheme you are using. Library of Congress (LC) call numbers will be used for those items stored at Shields and Physical Sciences and Engineering Library (PSE).  National Library of Medicine (NLM) call numbers are used at Blaisdell Medical Library (BLM) and Carlson Health Sciences Library.

See the Call Number section for more helpful information such as how do I read a call number or locating an item in the library by call number.

How do I search by standard number (ISSN or ISBN)?

When searching by ISBN (books) remove the hyphens and spaces

  • ISBN Example: ISBN 978-0520254718 = 9780520254718

When searching by ISSN keep the hyphens

  • ISSN Example:  0036-8075

Searching by ISBN:  Using the Library Catalog Advance Search select ISBN from the  ‘Any field’ drop down menu,  select ISBN , then enter the number without hyphens or spaces.  Alternatively, this search can also be performed in the basic search box on the library’s homepage. Simply enter in the ISBN into the search box, check the library catalog box, and hit search- remember to remove hyphens and spaces.  If you forget to check the library catalog box you will receive the record for the book, along with records of book reviews.

Searching by ISSN: Using the Library Catalog Advance Search select ISSN  from the  ‘Any field’ drop down menu, select  ISSN, then enter the number. It is not recommended  to search by ISSN in the basic search box since you will retrieve numerous results that will include the record you want, along with records of articles. You may scroll through the list to find the correct record.

How do I find limit my search to items in Special Collections?

Go to Advanced Search and where it reads ‘Search For’ select the catalog radio button. Then where it reads ‘Search Scope’ use the drop down menu to select Special Collections.


Alternatively, if you are in the Simple Search screen make sure the first drop down menu reads ‘Catalog’ and the next drop down menu reads ‘Special Collections.’

Can I export results from my search to EndNote?

Yes! From the Send To options, select EndNote if you are using EndNote Basic (Web). Choose Export RIS if you have EndNote Desktop (Client).

See also:

EndNote: Directions for Export from Databases (Windows)

EndNote: Directions for Export from Databases (Macintosh)

Why am I being asked to sign in?

You do not need to sign-in to Library Catalog + Articles to search the tool or access e-content. Signing in enables you to view loan periods for items, recall items that are checked out, and save records and searches across sessions.

NOTE: If you are off-campus, you do need to sign into the library’s VPN to access e-content.

How do I access databases and ebooks from off-campus?

If you are a UC Davis Student, Staff, or Faculty member, learn how to connect from offsite  using the VPN .

How do I request and view items from the Library’s Special Collections? 

To begin the request process, you will need to sign up for an Aeon Account.  Once you have identified items in the Library’s catalog you can request materials via the ‘Get it’ feature in the record. Click on the Special Collections link and you will be prompted to the Aeon Account log-in page.  You can find more specific information on requesting materials from Special Collections and Archives here. 


How do I get or renew my library card?

Student library accounts are automatically active and renew quarterly with current registration. Faculty and staff may activate their accounts at the library or online. Users unaffiliated with UC Davis may apply for library privileges at the library. For more information regarding types of accounts, privileges, and proxy accounts, please see Library Account Types and Descriptions.


More information about accessing library resources can be found on the “Services” page.

For information about obtaining materials that are not available at UC Davis from UC system libraries or from libraries throughout the world see the Interlibrary Loan page.  

For information about services available for UC Davis faculty, staff, and graduate students who are working at sites outside the Davis/Sacramento area can be found on the Services for Users at Remote Sites. 



What is a call number?

A call number represents an item’s physical location in the library, think of it as the item’s address.

Example: LD781.D3 S34 2001 

How do I read a call number?

See our handout for a brief explanation. More details about the Library of Congress Classification, the National Library of Medicine Classification and the Superintendent of Documents Classification are available.

How do I use a call number to find an item in the library?

Refer to a library map:

Shields Library
Physical Sciences & Engineering Library
Carlson Health Sciences Library
Blaisdell Medical Library