Library Catalogue Help

The new look and feel of the University of Toronto Libraries’ library catalogue makes it easy to use on all devices from smartphones to desktops.

What's New?

  • Responsive design - optimized for all screen sizes, including desktops, smartphones, and tablets
  • Fully accessible to AA standards
  • Clean layout and redesigned icons
  • Long scrolling pages
  • Option to refine your search by available items
  • Condensed view


You may notice some new icons in the refreshed library catalogue. See the legend below for details.

  • Search icon   Magnifying glass – perform a search
  • Marked Records icon Marked – shows how many records you have marked in one session. This icon will bring you to a page listing all of your marked records.
  • View Grouped Records icon  Grouped records – similar search results are grouped together; click to expand 
  • Full List View icon  Full List View – lists search results with all details visible (default)
  • Text Only View icon  Text Only View – lists search results with images removed
  • Back to top icon  Back to Top – jumps back to the top of the current page
  •  Share icon   Share – opens links to options below
    • View icon  View – opens item details page
    •  Request icon   Request – opens the Request an Item page for intercampus delivery and/or holds
    • Link icon    Link – produces a permanent link to the item record in the catalogue
    • Cite icon   Cite – opens a list of citation styles for the item
    • Refworks icon Refworks – export the item record to Refworks
    •  Email icon   Email – send an email containing a link to the item record
    • Report icon  Report – notify the Library of a problem with an eresource
  •  Refiine Icon Refine – displays options for refining your search results (on a mobile device)
  • Back Arrow icon   Back Arrow – brings you back to your search results
  •  Item Title Ellipsis Item Title Ellipsis – display an item record title that is more than two lines in length


Searching the Library Catalogue

What can you search?

  • books
  • ebooks
  • print and electronic copies of journals, magazines and newspapers
  • audiovisual materials
  • microfiche and microform
  • cartographic material (maps and atlases)
  • music scores

What can you not search?

  • electronic articles (choose Articles or Article Finder from the libraries main page)
  • databases (choose Popular databases or Subjects A-Z from the libraries main page)

Perform a Search

Watch below to see how to use catalogue functions to refine a search.

Simple Searches

Search can be limited to title, journal title, series title, author, subject, or call number. Use quotation marks to find an exact phrase or title, e.g. “MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers”

simple search image

Browse Search

The Browse option provides a single search box. Search through an alphabetical list, e.g. authors with the surname Foot. Search can be limited to title, author, subject, series, medical subject, journal title, or genre.

Browse Search screenshot

Advanced Search

Option 1: Multi-field - Click + to add a row for additional fields. Search can be limited to title, author, subject, publication year, publisher, place of publication, or call number. Search can be limited to a category, e.g. to find English language items on mining engineering in Canada at the Engineering library use:

MultiField Search screenshot


Option 2: Boolean - Between keywords use: AND, OR, NOT, NEAR, ONEAR, ( ), e.g. physics AND (nuclear OR atomic). Use a maximum of 10 keywords.

Narrow your search using AND

Using the Boolean command AND in your search tells the search engine to give you results that contain all of the words you have entered.  

  • Example: media AND violence.  Only those results that contain both media and violence will appear in your search results list.

Boolean command AND image

Expand your search using OR

Using Boolean command OR in your search tells the search engine to give you results that contain any of the words you have entered.

  • Example: teenagers OR adolescents.  Any results that contain either teenagers or adolescents will appear in your results list.

Boolean Command OR image

Narrow your results using NOT

Using Boolean command NOT in your search tells the search engine to give you results that contain the word(s) you entered except the word following NOT. 

  • Example: Psychology NOT Developmental.  Any results that contain the word "psychology" will appear in your results list except those results that also contain the word "developmental".

Boolean Command NOT image

By using parentheses, you can ask the catalogue to perform several Boolean searches at the same time.  It will first perform the search enclosed in parentheses before moving on to the other search terms.  This is called nesting.

Example: (England OR Britain) AND (Victorian OR 19th century) AND women

This search will bring hits that contain all of the following criteria:

  1. either England or Britain
  2. either Victorian or 19th century
  3. women

Using Subject Headings to Search the Catalogue

Subject headings are similar to tags or hashtags.  They describe the topic of an item in the catalogue, but unlike tags they come from an official, standardized set of terms and are assigned by cataloguing experts. 

You can use subject headings to:

  • Quickly determine the subject of an article or book
  • Search the library catalogue more efficiently
  • Discover other items on the same subject

The library catalogue uses Library of Congress Subject Headings.  

You will find them in the item's detailed description (see below).

Subject Headings in catalogue screenshot

Grouped Records

Similar search results are grouped together. Click anywhere on the record to expand the results.

Grouped Records screenshot

Mobile users click on the grouped records icon.

Mobile Grouped Records screenshot

Refining Your Search

To refine your search, mobile users first click Refine. Click on any item to filter search. Use +More to see more choices. Click X to delete any search steps.

Mobile Refine screenshot               Mobile Refine Options screenshot

Records Returned Options

Mobile users first click Options. Sort search results by Relevance (default), Title, Author, or Publication Date.

Mobile Options Sort screenshot

Search results can be reduced to text only. First click View. Then click Text Only View.

Mobile View screenshot    

 From the item record click the Share icon View Share icon  for item options.

Mobile Share screenshot

View Record Details

To find an item in a library, you need to know:

  • Item availability - IN indicates the item is in the library, OUT indicates the item is checked out
  • The name of the library
  • The location within the library, for example:
    • Stacks: the library’s main book shelves
    • Course Reserves: high-demand course readings that have short term loan periods, e.g. 3 hours
    • Reference: encyclopedias, dictionaries and other materials that must remain in the library
  • The call number. Books are shelved by subject. You will find similar items on the same shelf.

Record Returned screenshot

Marked Records

Mark an item to save it in your marked records folder. Marked items are temporary and will be lost once you close your browser.

Marked record screenshot

To view your marked items, click "Marked Records" at the top of the search results list. Then select one or more items in the marked records folder to act on:

  • Marked records remove icon    Remove – deletes the item you are viewing from Marked Records
  • Email icon   Email – sends an email containing a link to the marked record
  • Refworks icon Refworks – exports the marked record to Refworks
  • Export CSV icon    Export CSV – exports the marked record(s) as a CSV file
  • Unselect All icon   Unselect All – deletes all of your selected items from Marked Records

Finding Links to E-resources

From the item record click on the Web icon or the link beside it.

Web Resource Link screenshot

Report a Problem with an E-resource

If you cannot link to an e-resource:

  • From the item record click on the Share icon  View Share icon
  • Then Select the Report icon  View Report icon

Report E-Resource Problem screenshot

  • Fill out and submit the form

Report Problem Form screenshot



How do I borrow items from the library?

Use your TCard to borrow items. Your TCard is your U of T library card. For more about loan services, visit From the Services menu, choose Loan services.

How do I place a hold on an item that is currently out of the library?

Click Options / Request. You will receive a notice when the item is returned to the library.

How do I renew items online?

Click Renew on the library homepage. You can also visit the Circulation desk of the Library or call 416-978-8450 to renew items.

How do I borrow an item from another campus if it is not on your campus?

Click Options / Request to have it delivered in about 2 to 3 business days.

How do I borrow an item from another library if U of T does not have it?

Visit From the Quick Links menu, choose RACER (interlibrary loans).

What is a call number?

A call number is an address. It tells you where the book (or DVD or print Journal) is located within the library. A book’s call number appears in the University of Toronto Libraries library catalogue. In the library catalogue, the call number is written horizontally.

call number catalogue screenshot

On the book spine, it appears vertically, making it easier to find a specific call number on the shelves. Each book (or other item) has its own unique call number, which is taped to the lower outside edge of the book’s spine.

call number book image


How do I find an ebook in the library catalogue?

  • Search for your title or topic in the library catalogue
  • Click "Online" under the "Refine your search" column on the left side of the search results screen
  • Mobile users, click "Refine" to bring up the "Refine your search" column on the left side of your screen. Then click "Online"
  • To open the book, click the link next to "Web" below the cover image
  • To filter out e-journals, select the "Books" under the "Format" category in the "Refine your search" column

Ebook search screenshot

How do I know if a book cannnot be borrowed?

University of Toronto students, faculty and staff can borrow library materials with a valid TCard. Some items cannot be borrowed, however.

  • Periodicals (ie. print journals, magazines, and newspapers)
  • Books in a library's reference collection
  • Books labelled with a "For use in library only" sticker

 Loan privileges may vary at individual libraries.

What does it mean when a book is listed as "out"?

This means that the book is not available, either because it has been checked out by someone else, or it is missing.

If there is a date next to the book, you can place a hold on it to get next in line for it.

Books Out screenshot

If the book is missing and there isn't another copy at U of T, place an interlibrary loan request to get a copy from another library.

How do I create a durable link to books and catalogue pages?

The library catalogue allows you to access a durable link in two ways:

  1. In the search results screen
  • Click the sharing options button in the bottom right corner of the search result.
  • Click the link button. This will bring up a small pop up window with the durable link.

durable links screenshot

  2.  In book's detailed page view

  • Click the options button under the cover image.
  • Click the link button. This will bring up a small pop up window with the durable link.

durable links screenshot 2


More FAQs


Contact Us

The library catalogue team wants to hear your questions and concerns. Please contact us directly by email. For more information, see the latest version of the library catalogue brochure.