About the Main Catalogue
The Library Main Catalogue contains descriptions of over 100,000 books, pamphlets, journals, newspapers and government documents relating to the history, art, native peoples and popular culture of Western Canada, with an emphasis on Calgary and southern Alberta. Although most items in the Library collection have not been scanned, they may be accessed in various ways.
To do a wildcard search use "*" at the end of a string of letters. Example: "ranch*" will find ranches, rancher, ranching, etc.
To narrow a search (boolean "and") use "&" between the search terms. Example: "Calgary & buildings" will find records in which both words occur.
To broaden a search (boolean "or") use "/" between the search terms. Example: "Blackfoot / Blood / Peigan" will find records in which one of these terms occurs.
To search for one term but not another use "!" between the search terms. Example: "cemeteries ! Alberta" will find records related to cemeteries except those in Alberta.
To search by author or title: remember that computers are absolutely literal! For more successful searching, simplify. Even if you know an author's complete name or the title of a book, if it was entered differently in the database, the computer will not be able to make a match. Try just entering the author's last name or a unique word from the title. For more common names or titles, where there will be a lot of hits, use the ampersand "&" (and) to link a first and last name or two or more words from the title.
To search by subject: if you are not finding records related to your topic, you may be using terms not entered into the computer. Try using different words to describe the topic, experimenting with broader or narrower terms until you get a hit. Then take a look at the resulting list, find an entry which appears to cover your topic, and click on it to reveal the subject headings used to describe it. Then try these headings in the subject query box to search for other books described similarly.