Technical Services Department Procedures Manual


Section 3E.1 :
The Purpose of SearchingIn Tech Services the general reason that we search, the purpose of searching, is to retrieve the correct record or information so a record can be added to the database by Acquistions or Cataloging, so changes or additions can be made for an item or an entry in our online catalog. You may be searching on OCLC, the Voyager system, or the World Wide web and retrieving bibliographic information or records that you, the cataloger or acquisitions can use to aid in receiving or cataloging an item (book, record, video, etc.). There are various types of formats and records in these databases, the differences between all these formats will not be treated here. The department is best able to provide the highest quality of access if the searcher  provides as complete a bibliographic search as possible. Accessing this cataloging history involves the identification of both matching records and near copy records (the latter is also called related copy). Cataloging is the process used to make materials available and accessible to patrons. 

The OCLC Database

OCLC is a bibliographic utility, a network which produces a database, services, etc. that are used by libraries and other information institutions for various library related purposes. In this department we will of course be using the system for cataloging, acquistions and interlibrary loan purposes. We use OCLC to produce a record that later is downloaded into our local system and becomes part of our library catalog.

The database(s) consists of many modes. You will be accessing either the Cataloging or Searching Mode which is made up of several million “bibliographic records” (44 million + at last count) that are contributed by institutions around the world.

Logging On and Search Keys:

The “bibliographic record” is the heart of the database and you will learn how to access and read these records. Access to the system is done by logging on to the system and using various search methods and strategies to search for items.

Searching the database is done by using various searching commands. You will be given specific training on how to do this – for now we are only concerned with providing you with an overview of what searching is and why we do it so you will better understand the process.

The database consists of many modes. You will be accessing either the Cataloging or Interlibrary Loan module.


Voyager is our local integrated library system that we use. In tech services you will be using the Cataloging or Acquisitions module.  You will be assigned a logon id and password.

We search in Voyager mostly for duplicate records, to see if we already have a work. Or to make corrections to various parts of the record.

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