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Basics Go to the top of the window


You can navigate the Web OPAC by using the buttons on your Web browser as well as the navigation buttons on the Web OPAC screen.

A screen is made up of two frames. The top frame shows the menu bar. This frame appears on every screen and offers the key functions and user options for the system. The large lower frame displays various search options along with screens that display results.


Sign-in verifies your Patron information and allows you to see your personal library information and display options. Some of the activities that can be performed in the Web OPAC also require user authentication. You do not need to sign in to use the Web OPAC for search purposes only.

Log On

If you are a registered user, enter your Patron ID and Password, and select a library in order to log on.


Click Guest from the sign-in page in order to enter the system as an unidentified user. You will not be able to see your personal information or use some of the options.


In order to register as a patron, click Register from the sign-in page. Fill in as much information as you can. At the end of the registration, the system assigns you a user name and password that you can use to log onto the system.

Forgot Password?

If you are a registered user and have forgotton your password, click Forgot Password?. You will be prompted to answer a question, provided you filled in the question database field during registration.

Types of Searches

There are five different Search types available in Web OPAC: Basic; Multi-base; Multi-field; CCL; and Advanced Search. To choose a particular type of Search, click the relevant link from the Search screen. For more information, see the Search section.

Web Browser Requirements

You need a Web browser (Internet Explorer 5.x or higher; Netscape 6.2 or higher) configured to support Unicode-based characters. Windows users need Windows 95 or higher (Windows 2000 is recommended) with appropriate Global IMEs (input method editors) installed. Macintosh users need OS9.x with the appropriate language packs installed or OS X.

Browse Go to the top of the window

The Browse search allows you to search the catalog in alphabetical or numerical order, like a dictionary. Your search, if successful, will result in an alphabetical/numerical list. You can then browse forward or backwards through that particular list or index. You do not have to use uppercase.

To search by browsing:

Choose the index you want to browse through, then enter the text from which you would like to start browsing. This text will appear at the top of a scrollable list. For example, entering the letter a will give you an alphabetical list starting at the letter a.

Your library might have set up the system so that you are able to see the record that starts with the text immediately preceding the text that you have entered. For example, if you enter the author miller, you might see an alphabetical list starting with millay and then continuing with miller.

Your library might have set the browse option to enable the users to search keyword in headings. In case where the "Search Keywords in headings" checkbox is marked, the system returns a list of headings that contains the requested keywords. For example, if you enter the subject football, you might see a heading list starting with American football and then continuing with Football Association, The great football book, world cup- football and other.

Brief Records Display Go to the top of the window

In a Browse list, you can click a headings button to retrieve a list of works related to the heading. Note that the headings button is active only if the highlighted heading has related brief records.

Browse List Go to the top of the window

The Browse List displays the number of records for each entry and indicates whether or not there are cross-references for the entry. Click on an underlined entry to see the associated records for the entry. There are three ways to go to a Browse List:

  • By using the Browse function and choosing an Index to browse. After typing in the text that you want to appear at the top of the list, the Browse List will be displayed.

  • By using the Search function. To do this:

    1. Open a record in full view.

    2. Click on an underlined tag, for example, the Author tag. This opens the ALEPH Services page which contains a Browse option (for example, Browse a headings list in the database).

    3. Click the adjacent Go button to receive a Browse List of entries for the tag, for example, an alphabetical list of authors, with the current author at the top of the list.

  • While viewing a list of cross-references. Clicking on an underlined tag will present a Browse List. For example, clicking on the Heading tag will present an alphabetical list of entries with the current heading at the top of the list.
Character Sets and Unicode Go to the top of the window

The catalog records are encoded in the Unicode character set. Unicode allows for the display of a large range of alphabets and diacritics (also known as accent marks) and special characters.

Displaying non-English Characters If you are seeing strange characters in some of the Web OPAC records, it may be because of your browser. There may be titles in the collection that are in non-Western European alphabets. To view these records correctly, you need to use a Web browser, which is set up to display these languages. In general, your browser should support Unicode (UTF-8 character set) display, and must have a suitable font available.

In older browsers, some characters in non-Western European languages will show up as groups of four letters and numbers. For instance, in Netscape 4.x, records with Chinese characters will display strings such as \65B0\653F.

To set the browser character encoding:

  • Internet Explorer:

    From the View menu, select Encoding, then click on Auto-Select.

  • Netscape:

    From the View menu, select Character coding, then Auto-detect, then All [for Netscape 6.x] or Universal [for Netscape 7.x].
The Arial Unicode MS font provides the most complete support for Unicode characters. It is available with the following Microsoft products: Publisher 2000, Office 2000 Professional, Office

If Arial Unicode MS is not available to you, other fonts can be used with the Web OPAC. For information on other fonts that support Unicode, see the Useful resources link at

Customizing Your Display Go to the top of the window

The Preferences option lets you set up the display of information on your screen. For example, you can determine the language of the interface and the language of the thesaurus terms shown to you. You can also set the order in which records are sorted and you can determine the format in which records are presented. These actions can be done from the Preferences screen or from the My Library Card screen (personal profile). You cannot save your customized view if you are not a registered user.

Database Go to the top of the window

To see a list of available databases, click Database from the menu bar. Your library determines which databases you are allowed to access.

Full View of Record Go to the top of the window

In the Full view of a record, you can see the record in a variety of formats that change the tags from standard ALEPH tags to name tags or alphanumeric tags. You can also select the Catalog card or citation style.

The Full view has links that allow you to jump to:

  • A Browse List

  • Other, similar records, for example, other records that share the same subject

  • A search engine in order to find related information

  • Holdings information

  • External files, such as an electronic journal
In addition, the Full view of a record allows you to use certain options. These options are contained in the options bar, which appears above the Full view of the record.
  • To search for similar records in other databases, click Locate.

  • To use this record for creating an Interlibrary Loan Request for this material from another library, click ILL Request. You can also save the record on your PC or send it by e-mail.

  • To save the record to the server, click Save on server. This option is only available if you have Save permission defined in your patron profile.

  • To save the record on your PC or send it by e-mail, click Save/Mail.

  • To add the document to your e-shelf, click My e-shelf .

  • To place a booking request, click Booking.

  • To search for this record in SFX (your library setup permitting), click the SFX icon.
History Go to the top of the window

The History function allows you to view your search queries, which you saved on your previous visits to the library. These search queries are saved in a permanent buffer and can be used as bookmarks for future use. You save your queries in the History buffer from the Previous Searches screen.

To view your saved searches, click History from the menu bar.

From the search queries in the History screen, you can rerun your search queries by clicking Find, or delete them from the permanent buffer. Note that the value displayed in the No. of Records column refers to the number of records retrieved at the time that the search query was first run.

Holdings Go to the top of the window

To view Holdings information for a given library:

In the results list screen, click on the underlined library name in the Lib/Items column.


In the Full View of Record screen, click on the All Items link.

The Holdings window, containing a list of items held by the library, appears. You can apply several filters on the list of items that displays:

  • Select year: only items issued on the specified year will display

  • Select volume: only the specified volume will display

  • Select sublibrary: only items that belong to the specified sublibrary will display

  • Hide loaned items: items that are currently on loan or on hold will not display
The Holdings window allows you to use the following options:
  • Request the item (if shown)

  • Make a photo request of the item (if shown)

  • Make a booking for the item (if shown)

  • View the expanded information on the item
Interlibrary Loan Go to the top of the window

This function enables you to request material from another library. You can borrow a book or journal, or request a photocopy of the material. Fill in as much information as possible in the interlibrary loan screen. Fields with * are mandatory. This option is only available if you are signed in and have the necessary permission.

Item Booking Go to the top of the window

This function enables you to create a booking request for the item (available only for authorized users). To create a booking request:

  1. Do one of the following:
    • From the Full view of the record, click the Booking link in the options menu, or

    • From the Holdings page (click the Booking link in the left column).
    The booking form displays.

  2. Fill in the form in order to place the booking request. From/To days and hours are mandatory fields.

  3. If the booking succeeds, confirm the booking.
My e-Shelf Go to the top of the window

You can create your own set of records and save it in a buffer, which is called My e-shelf. If you are an identified patron, the records that you save in My e-shelf are not be deleted when your session is over. If you are a guest user, the buffer is deleted when your session ends.

To add the records to My e-shelf, select records from the items list and click the Add to My e-shelf link from the options bar. You can also add to My e-shelf a record which is currently open in a Full view.

To view all the records that are currently saved, click My e-Shelf from the menu bar.

My e-shelf allows you to:

  • Save/Mail the records that are currently in My e-shelf

  • Delete records from My e-shelf

  • Create folders and move records to them

  • Delete and rename folders

  • Create serial,parallel and regular hold requests

  • Empty My e-shelf
My Library Card Go to the top of the window

The My Library Card screen displays your circulation information. It also enables you to perform a number of online activities.

You can view your current circulation statuses from the Activities entry of the screen:

  • Loans (per administrative library): the screen gives you access to your loans information. In addition, if you click on an underlined number, you have two options for renewing your loans.
    • Renew All: select this option from the menu bar to renew all records that you have on loan.

    • Renew Selected: use this option to renew the selected records only.
  • Loan History list: this is a list of all the items that you have ever borrowed and their loan information.

  • Hold requests (per administrative library): this is a the list of items on which you have placed a hold request and the status of the requests.

  • Hold requests history (per administrative library): this is a list of historical hold requests.

  • Booking requests (per administrative library): this is a the list of items on which you have placed a booking request and the status of the requests.

  • Photo request (per administrative library): this is a the list of items on which you have placed a photo request and the status of the requests.

  • Cash transactions (per administrative library): this is a the list of your cash transactions with their current status.
In addition, the My Library Card screen displays some general circulation information:
  • Messages for the patron

  • Patron's circulation blocks

  • Patron's personal profile with an option to modify it

  • Patron's SDI profiles with the option to modify them

  • Patron's address (a patron must have special permissions in order to update his address)

  • Change password option

  • Administrative information

  • Leave a note for borrower option
Access to your library card requires a password in order to prevent unauthorized access to your records.

Note that in order to protect your personal information, the system does not allow the browser's Back function from most of My Library Card's pages. Instead of taking you to the previous page, the system opens the page that you opened before going to My Library Card.

Previous Searches Go to the top of the window

You can view the results of previous searches, incorporate them into new searches, or combine them into one result set.

  • To see a list of the searches you have made during your current session, click on Previous Searches from the menu bar.

  • To review a search, select it, and click View.

  • To erase a search, select it and click Delete.

  • To combine two or more searches, select them, and click Cross.

  • To make an SDI request for a search, select it and click SDI Request.
Cross lets you work in various ways with more than one result sets. For example, if you searched for Chicago, and now want to do a similar search for Illinois, you can combine them by choosing a predefined logical operation: and, or, First set not second, Second set not first.

To cross sets with the First Set not Second and Second Set not First operations, choose two sets only.

Requesting Items Go to the top of the window

To place a request on an item:

  • Click on an underlined Holdings tag from the Full view of a record. A holding list of items stocked by the library is displayed.
In the Holdings list, you can:
  • Click Request (if shown) to place a hold request.

  • Click Photo (if shown) to make a photocopy request.

  • Click Booking (if shown) to make a booking request.

  • Click Expand to view all available details about the item record:
If the Holdings List contains a Due Date, this indicates that the item is currently on loan

Advance Booking Go to the top of the window

Many libraries maintain a reserve collection from which patrons can borrow items on a short-term basis (for example, for one or two hours).

To make a request on a short-term item:

  1. From the reserve collection, select a reserve item in the Holdings window, and click Request. A schedule of available time slots for that item appears.

  2. Select an available time slot and click the adjacent request link. The item is made available for pickup during the selected time slot.

Special Request Go to the top of the window

The Special Request function lets you place requests for items that are not found in the Web OPAC, but are listed in the card catalog. The link for making a special request is displayed in the menu bar if your patron profile includes permission for placing a special request.

To make a special request:

  1. From the menu bar, click Special Request. The Special Request form is displayed:

  2. Fill in as much information as possible, including the item's title and call number, and click Go. The library processes the request, that is, fetches the item and delivers it to you if it is available.
Saving and Mailing Your Results Go to the top of the window

Once you have selected records, you can save them or forward them by e-mail.

To send the record or list of records by e-mail:

  1. Click Save/Mail to invoke the E-mail or Save Selected Records form.

  2. Choose a record format, or create a format of your own, select the encoding, and fill in the e-mail address field. The Name, Subject and Text fields on the form are optional, and can be helpful in handling your e-mail.

  3. Click Send/Save.
To save the records on disk:
  1. Click Save/Mail to invoke the E-mail or Save Selected Records form.

  2. Choose a record format or create a format of your own.

  3. Leave the e-mail address field blank. The Name, Subject and Text fields on the form are optional.

  4. Click Go. A Save file to PC screen appears.

  5. Click Save Selected. You will be prompted with your options for saving and naming the file.
The Save on Server option lets you save either selected records or a subset of records from the Results List on the server. This option is only available to patrons with Save permission defined in their patron profile.

SDI Go to the top of the window

SDI (Selective Dissemination of Information) is designed to alert patrons to recently added or updated records in their specified area of interest. The SDI mechanism enables your library to send you notification about new publications on a specific field as well as new journal issues that have arrived at the library.

You must have SDI permission in your profile in order to be able to create SDI requests.

To make an SDI request, click SDI Request from the current search results list or from a previous search. The SDI Record (new/update) window appears. This is the window in which you can create a new SDI profile or update an existing one and it contains the following fields:

  • SDI Name: enter the name that you want to save your request under.

  • Print Format: choose the print format that you want to receive your records in.

  • Interval Count: define the intervals between runs of your SDI query, for example, seven days, four weeks, and so on.

  • SDI Message: type text for a message to be included into the SDI notification's body.

  • SDI Request: displays the original search term (for example, words= Buddhism).

  • SDI Sublibrary: you can set your SDI query to run for a specific location or regardless of location.

  • SDI Base List: select the bases that you want your SDI request to run on.

  • Alternative Email: you can define an alternative e-mail address for your SDI results lists to be sent to.

  • Email Subject: define a subject for your SDI results lists.

  • Expiry Date: define the expiry date for your SDI profile. The SDI results lists will not be sent to you after this date.

  • Suspend SDI from/to: you can suspend your SDI searches for a certain period (for example, vacations). You will not get SDI notifications till the end of the suspension period.

  • Encoding: select the character set in which you want to receive your SDI results list.

  • No Results Message: define whether or not you want to receive reports of SDI searches that retrieve zero results.
To view all your SDI profiles, go to My Library Card and click the SDI profiles link from the options bar. The opening page allows you to view all your SDI profiles, modify, duplicate and delete them. From this screen, you can also refine your SDI profiles. Clicking Online Search from this window executes the selected SDI request in real time. You will not receive SDI notification regarding items found in the online search.

Search Go to the top of the window

The Search function enables you to find records by entering keywords or phrases. To perform any search, click on Search from the menu bar. There are five different Search types available in Web OPAC: Basic; Multi-base; Multi-field; CCL; and Advanced Search.

Advanced Search Go to the top of the window

Advanced Search lets you search the database for keywords present anywhere in the catalog record, or only in specific fields (for example, author, title, publisher, and so on). You can use pull-down menus to specify the search fields. Web OPAC offers various fields such as Author, Subject, Title, and so on. The relationship between the fields is handled by the logical operator, AND. To view a list of records, click on an adjacent link in the No. of records column.

Basic Search Go to the top of the window

In this screen, you can choose a field to be searched such as Author, Subject, Publication Year, System Number, and so on, and type in the keywords. Lowercase letters can also find matches of capitalized words. You can use the Boolean operators AND, OR, and NOT in the search string. You can also use AND/OR/NOT as real words (that is, not as Boolean operators) when they are part of a phrase, as in, for example, TIT=gone but NOT forgotten, or if the operator is enclosed in double quotes, as in, for example WTI=gone but "NOT" forgotten (NOT is written in uppercase for the sake of clarity - it can be lowercase in the search query).

To retrieve search terms that are next to each other, choose Yes for Words adjacent.

Constructing a Search Go to the top of the window

A Search request is limited to the number of records the System is set to (for example, 5000). In addition, the default result display limit and sort limit in the results list window is 1000.

ALEPH supports and , or, and not Boolean operators. and is assumed if no operator is present. Operators can be typed in English or expressed by using any of the following conventions:

  • AND = + (plus sign)

  • AND = & (ampersand)

  • OR = | (pipe sign)

  • NOT = ~ (tilde)
All searches can be further limited by language, format, years and location. You can define these limits at the bottom of each Search screen.

In addition to the Search Hints at the bottom of each Search screen, the following are additional rules for all types of searches:

The ? character or * character (asterisk) can be placed at the left, right or middle of a portion of a word, but it can never be used more than once in a text string.

The # symbol can be used to find variant spellings in cases where one version of the word has one more character than another version. For example, colo#:r will find both color and colour; and arch#eology will find both archaeology and archeology.

The ! character can be used to find variant spellings in cases where a single character may vary. For example, wom!n will retrieve both woman and women.

The % symbol, followed by a number, can be placed between two words to indicate that you want the words to appear within a particular distance from each other, irrespective of what order the words appear in. For example, england %3 ballads will retrieve Ballads of England , Ballads of Merry Olde England and England and Her Ballads.

The ! character, followed by a number, can be placed between two words to indicate that you want the words to appear within a particular distance from each other, and in the same order in which you type the words. In this case, ballads !3 england will retrieve Ballads of England and Ballads of Merry Olde England but not England and Her Ballads.

The -> (hyphen and greater than symbols) can be placed between two words. This indicates that you want to retrieve records that have words from (and including) the first word, through the second word. This search is particularly helpful for limiting a set of records by year of publication. You cannot use to instead of the symbols.

Here is an example: 1993 -> 1996

Common Command Language Go to the top of the window

You can use Common Command Language (CCL) to search for words and headings in several different indexes at once. You must specify the code of the word and the heading indexes to be searched. The abbreviations used in CCL can be found in the following CCL Code section.

Here is an example:

((wau=carlyle or ruskin or hegel) and (wti=cultur?)) not (wsu=art?)

This search finds anything written by individuals named Carlyle or Ruskin or Hegel with a word beginning with cultur, for example, culture, cultures, cultural, and so on, in any title which has not been assigned a subject beginning with the word art, for example, art, arts, artist, artistic, and so on.

CCL Codes Go to the top of the window

Following are some of the abbreviations used by the Common Command Language:

LCC - LC Class
LCN - LC Shelf
DDC - Dewey
TIT - Titles
AUT - Authors
IMP - Imprint
SUB - Subjects
SRS - Series
LOC - Location
WRD - Words
WTI - Words in title field
WAU - Words in author field
WPE - Words in personal author field
WCO - Words in corporate author field
WME - Words in meeting field
WUT - Words in uniform title field
WPL - Words in place field
WPU - Words in publisher field
WSU - Words in subject field
WSM - Words in MeSH subjects
WST - Words in status
WGA - Words in geographical area
WYR - Year of publication

Multi-base Search Go to the top of the window

You can use the Multi-base Search to search more than one database at a time. This lets you retrieve a set of records in your selected databases which match your specified criteria. When you click Go, the Multi-base search results page displays. This page contains the list of the searched databases with the number of records retrieved per database. Click the database link in order to view the results of your search in this particular base.

Multi-field Search Go to the top of the window

The Multi-Field Search lets you search more than one word group at the same time, with "AND" between them. The more fields you can fill in, the narrower the search.

Working with Results Lists Go to the top of the window

The list of records appears in the results list window. When you enter a successful search query, or click on an underlined entry from the browse list, a Results List is displayed. The Results List can display up to 1000 records. The Results List shows how many records satisfy your query specifications. Each record in a Results List is sequentially numbered. The search results can be displayed in different formats.

There are two options that enable you to jump to designated records in the set, Jump to Text and Jump to #. These options are located above the Results List.

There is quite a lot of information on the results screen. The search is shown in the upper left side of the screen, below the top menu. Underneath this are a variety of options. They are listed below.

Create Subset Go to the top of the window

Creating a subset allows you to work with a group of records selected from a result set. Select records in the results list, and then click Create Subset. The results list will then display only the records you have put in the subset. This subset can be treated just like any result set: records can be selected, added to a list, sent by e-mail, or turned into another subset.

The new set will remain in Previous Searches until the session ends. The only way to distinguish a subset from a full records set is the number of records - there is no change the Search Request description as the original search does not change. Within Previous Searches, subsets can be combined with other searches or subsets.

For more help, see Previous Searches.

Filter Go to the top of the window

Filter enables you to define filter options post-search, creating your own filter or using predefined filter options.

Click Filter from the options bar of the results list. The filter form page that displays allows you either to define your own filter or to use the predefined filters.

Rank Go to the top of the window

You can rank the results by adding an additional word to the search term/s used in the current search. Records are ranked according to a formula that takes into account the number of times the word appears in a record, and the weight given to the word (for example, if the word appears in the title, it may be given a greater weight).

Refine Go to the top of the window

Refine allows you to broaden or narrow your search strategy by expanding your terminology or creating subsets of your search. You can modify your search by changing the Common Command Language. You can also add terms using the drop-down options, or you can execute an entirely new search.

Sort Go to the top of the window

You can sort records using predefined sort options. Additionally, in the Brief view table, you can click on a column heading to sort the list (for example, clicking Author sorts records by Author, then by Year).

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