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2.4.1 Library catalogues

Identify and obtain  information
2.1 Define your search terms
2.2 An example search strategy
2.3 Search strategies
2.4 Select an appropriate tool
  * 2.4.1 Library catalogues
  2.4.2 Databases
2.4.3 Internet
2.5 Keep up to date
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A library catalogue is a searchable collection of records referring to:

  • reference material
  • books
  • journals, newspapers and magazines
  • conference proceedings
  • videos, DVDs and CDs
  • other materials in the library's collection whether they are in print or electronic format.

Using other library's collections

If a book is not available at ECU library, you might be able to obtain a copy from another library using the BONUS option offered in the catalogue. Click on the Bonus icon to start your inter-library loan.


Reciprocal Borrowing
To enrol as a borrower at another academic library for the year, check at the Loans desk. Details are also available online under library borrowing.

ECU library catalogue also has links to the UWA, Murdoch & the State Library catalogues. To check what's held at other Australian libraries, check out Trove, a joint library catalogue of Australian libraries.

Inter-campus requests
ECU staff and students may request books and photocopied articles from other ECU campus libraries using the Request option in the catalogue.

Request button

Document delivery services
The Library will obtain material from other library collections, for eligible staff and students of ECU via a service called Document Delivery. Visit the Document Delivery Web pages for more information.

Tips for searching library catalogues

Tip #1 Be broader with your search terms in a library catalogue than in a database or Internet search tool.

For example: Chardonnay is a type of grape used for making white wine. In a library catalogue, a search for chardonnay would return few, if any, results. You would get more results from a search for wine or grapes.


It is unlikely that a whole work, such as a book or video, has been dedicated entirely to chardonnay.

It is more likely that a work has been dedicated to wine, with a section on chardonnay.

When you search a library catalogue you should search the broad subject area of your topic (e.g. wine), and then use the index in the back of the book to identify any content on your specific topic (chardonnay).

Tip #2 Choose the Keyword search option for a subject/topic search

Keyword searches across Title, Contents and Subject terms.

Most library catalogues assign subject terms (The Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH)) to materials in the collections. It might be useful to check these subject thesaurus terms and include them in a keyword search to find relevant materials.

For example: LCSH uses body temperature regulation in place of thermoregulation.

Once you've identified relevant LCSH, you can do a search in most catalogues and get relevant information regardless of the varying terminology used by authors.

To identify LCSH:

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