Using Library of Congress card catalog...

a VERY SHORT Introduction

Michael John Neill

The Library of Congress Card Catalog can be accessed online.

The search I prefer to use is the Basic Search
The Basic Search offers several different types of searches

Search Type When I use this type of search
(click above for help on searches)
I use title searches when I am fairly certain of words that are in the title. Remember that not all books have titles that accurately describe their contents or their subject matter. When the title is not known, a subject search is best.
Author/Creator Browse
(click above for help on searches)
I use author searches when I am certain of the author's name.
Subject Browse
(click above for help on subject searches)
This is the search I use the most. Entering in the name of the county and state, or the county and state and a "genealogy word" like census, marriage, cemetery, etc. is an excellent idea. Generally when I find one book on a certain area or topic, I then do a call number browse so I can virtually browse the stacks and see other books without performing additional searches. When you find books you "like" keep track of the subject headings as this will give you additional ideas on how to search later.
(click above for help on subject searches)

Call Number Browse

A little practice: (you might want to print this page out first)
  1. Perform an author search for Bockstruck. In how many ways is this well known genealogist listed in the Library of Cognress catalog as an author?
  2. What is the call number of Bockstruck's book on Texas Research?
  3. Perform a call number browse on Bockstruck's Texas Research book. What book is AFTER his book?
  4. Perform a keyword search for "hancock county illinois" without the quotes. What is the first book that comes up?
  5. Peform as a keyword search "1880 census hancock county" without the quotes. The first book that comes up is the 1880 census of Hancock County, Illinois. Click on that book for the full title. The "Brief record" tab should be below:

BriefSubjects/ContentFullMARC TagsNon-Roman Test

Click on the Subjects/Content (OF YOUR RESULTS PAGE NOT THIS PAGE). What are the subject headings under which this book is cataloged? (You can then click on any of those subjects to see what additional materials are cataloged under those headings as well--this is called the call number browse).

6. Continuing from question 5, click on the subject heading Registers of births, etc. Illinois Hancock County. How many books are classified under that heading?
7. What are those four books? (click on the link for Registers of births, etc. Illinois Hancock County to find out).

That should get you started....the answers are here.

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