PrairieCat – Similar to a prairie dog but with less tunneling or…

He's soooo cute!Actually, now that I think of it, it is nothing like a prairie dog. It may sound like a mysterious creature of the Great Plains but it’s actually our library catalog. Here are some quick tips for using it:


Searching: Basic and Advanced

Basic: A basic search retrieves titles that are related to the word(s) entered in the “Search” bar.

In the example below, searching for ‘prairie dogs’ yielded several items from multiple locations and in several formats.PrairieCat Search ScreenCap

PrairieCat Refine By ScreenCapThe results of a basic search can be can be refined by the “Refine by:” sidebar on the left hand side of the page (as seen in an enlarged image to the left). The sidebar provides a number of options for you to narrow your search results down to a more manageable number in order to make it easier for you to find exactly what you are looking for. Some of the more popular refinement categories are:

Format: This allows you to choose whether you want a book, DVD, magazine, etc.

Libraries: This allows you to choose a specific library that owns the material. Selecting a specific library will not eliminate all other libraries as any other libraries that own the same material as the selected library will still show up.

Found In: If you are looking for a book about, for example,  prairie dogs, you would limit ‘Found In’ to the ‘Subject’ field. BUT if you were looking for a book with the words “Prairie Dog” specifically in the title than you would want to limit it to ‘Title.’ And if you were looking for a book by “Prairie Dog” then you would want to limit it to ‘Author.’

Tags: This provides links to related search terms you might use if you are not finding the desired results. It’s like retroactively adding a search term.

Setting: Setting lets you limit to materials set in the specified locations.

Publish Date:This lets you choose a specific range of years that you are interested in.



Advanced: Advanced search essentially combines the basic search function with the refinement tools, allowing you to narrow down potential results before you do the search rather than after and all in one step. After you click on the “Advanced Search” link a box like the one below will open.PrairieCat Advanced Search ScreenCap

In this example, the search will be narrowed to books owned by the Moline Public Library that have the words ‘prairie dogs’ and ‘Great Plains’ somewhere in the book’s record. Changing your limiters is as easy as clicking on the downward pointing arrows at the right side of the box – which will bring up a list of other options. In the case of ‘Format’ it will be things like ‘Books on CD,’ ‘DVD,’ etc. The ‘Keyword’ search in the top half of the box can also be changed. A keyword search is just going to be looking for the search terms to appear anywhere in the record. If you want to be more specific you can use the drop down menu to change it to ‘Title,’ ‘Subject,’ or ‘Author’ as well. Once you have everything the way you want it all you need to do is hit ‘Search’ in the bottom left.

PrairieCat Login ScreenCapPlacing Holds:

You can place items on hold through PrairieCat but first you will need to be logged into your library account. To log in you will need your library card number and your account PIN number (which will be either the last four numbers of the phone number that is connected to your account, or, if you have gotten a new card or renewed your card since July of 2016, it may default to the last for numbers of your library card number). The link to login to your account can be found in the upper right hand corner of the PrairieCat catalog page.  The login page is shown here on the right.

Once you have logged in, search for an item like you normally would. Once you find the one you want click on the “Request It” button on the right side of the item description.PrairieCat Select Item ScreenCap

PrairieCat Request It ScreenCapOnce you click “Request It” a box like the one on the right will appear. The pick up library for the materials will default to your home library but you can change it to any library in PrairieCat that is convenient for you. If you need an item by a specific date, or more accurately don’t want it after a certain date, check the deadline box and enter the date in the space provided. Then just click “Submit” – you will be notified when your item(s) arrive.

And there you have it. There is a bit more but that should at least get you started. For more information on PrairieCat or if you have questions about your account feel free to stop by the library or give us a call at 309-524-2440.


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