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Hope Library Guides

Research Desk Practice Exercises

Finding Items in PRIMO - Advanced

Beyond the basic searches that you practiced in the previous exercise, here are some of the challenges that might come up when looking for a known item.

1.  The patron missed that it was an ebook - sometimes patrons will go looking for a book on the shelf, when in reality the book is only available as an electronic book.  Suggestion: Look up the book again in PRIMO, either by call number or title and show the patron the link to the ebook.  If they seem disappointed and want a print copy, you can usually find a print version through MeLCat or WorldCat if we don't have it here.

2. The item is not available - If a patron comes to you with an item they were unable to find in the stacks, always look the item up again in PRIMO, by Call Number or Title, to verify the location, call number, and availability.  If the Availability says any of the following, you will not find it on the shelf:

  • "a date" ( DUE 02-04-15) - The book is checked out.  Usually recommend that the student order it through MeLCat or WorldCat instead, as this will be faster than waiting for the book to be returned.  If the patron isn't in a rush, they can login to their PRIMO account and then use the option to "Request This,"  on a book and be notified when it has been returned to the library. 
  • MISSING or LOST - The item has been reported missing.  Recommend the student order it through MeLCat or WorldCat.
  • SHELVING - The item hasn't be reshelved yet.  Check the shelving cart behind the circulation desk.
  • IN PROCESS - The item is in technical services being cataloged.  Take the student's contact information and give it to a librarian along with the book information because we will be able to rush the cataloging and get it to the student in a day or two.  This is the same if the item has no call number but says "1 Copy being processed for Hope College Libraries"
  • DAMAGED - This item is waiting to be repaired.  Recommend that the student order it through MeLCat or WorldCat.

3. The patron wrote down the call number incorrectly - If when you type in a provided call number nothing comes up, then the patron likely wrote the number down incorrectly.  See if you can get the patron to recall the title and/or author of the book, or recreate the search they did to find it so that you can track down the correct call number.

4. The patron doesn't remember the citation correctly - Sometimes the patron doesn't have complete or correct information about the item they need.  I even had an example recently where the professor wrote the title incorrectly in their syllabus!  There is where Google is your friend.  Use online searching to try to come up with a complete and correct citation for the item they need.  Then take this information to PRIMO to check and see if we have it.

5. The location is a less common one - The items may be in an odder location in our outside of Van Wylen.  Here are some that come up regularly:

  • Theil Building Heritage - This is the book collection of the Joint Archives of Holland, located on 10th St. in the Theil Research Center.  These books cannot be checked out, but they can be used at the archives.
  • VW Curric Library - This item is in the Curriculum Library on the 2nd floor by the Media Desk.
  • Featured Collections - This item is temporarily housed on the featured item wall behind the research desk.  These are special collections created to go along with Hope Events, like Visiting Writers Series.  They can be checked out, but usually for a shorter period of time than normal.
  • Fac Pub - Faculty Publication section.  The library retains a copy of every book published by a professor during their time at Hope.  There is a special non-circulating collection of these located on the wall behind the Research Desk.  In many cases we also have a copy that can be checked out located in the regular stacks, so check HopeCat.
  • New Materials - There is a special shelf with all of our recently added materials located on the wall by Technical Services.  Tricky part here: they are divided into "New", "Newer", and "Newest," so you may need to check all three shelves before you find the book.
  • Reference - These are dictionaries and encyclopedias located on the 1st floor.  Most can be checked out, but for only 3 days at a time, so I usually recommend that students just scan/photocopy the sections that they need.
  • Rare - Materials in our Rare collection (located in the basement) can be viewed by making an appointment with the archivist, Sarah Lundy.  Have students talk to a librarian or email to schedule an appointment to view Rare items.

6. The item is missing - If after you have followed the above suggestions you are not finding the item where you expect to, it may be legitimately missing.  Take the student to the circulation desk and have them fill out a missing item form, and the circulation students will begin searching for it.  Suggest that in the meantime they student could order it through MeLCat or WorldCat or use an alternate item.

7. The item is a shorter work that may be located in a larger anthology - This comes up more frequently in the arts, when someone is looking for a play or a score for a piece of music.  It also may be an issue if someone needs an essay published in an anthology.

  • Certainly, start with a title and author search for the work you need.  If this isn't fruitful, try doing a basic keyword search and include part of the title and part of the author's name.  If the work is listed in a table of contents method will be more likely to bring it up. 
  • If this gets at all complicated, definitely bring a librarian into the conversation, as we have other strategies for figuring this out.

8. We don't own the item they need - If after verifying that the citation information is correct, you may find that we don't have the item in our library.  At this point, if they have a little time to wait, you can show them how to order the item through MeLCat or WorldCat.

  • Tip:  Is the item more popular in nature? (a movie, popular biography, recent novel or important work of fiction)  It might be available at the Herrick District Library on River across from Centennial Park.  To check use the Herrick's catalog.  (Important: The public library shares their catalog with many others, so make sure and limit the "location" to "Herrick Main Library.")  Refer patrons to the Van Wylen Circulation Desk to get the documentation they need to do this.


PRIMO Advanced Quiz

OK, now it's time to answer some more complicated "known item" search puzzles.  Complete the PRIMO Advanced Search Quiz. For each question, you are given a scenario in which you need to assist a patron with locating an item.  In some cases we have it, but the location might be tricky.  In some cases, the patron has made a mistake in describing the item or is uncertain what they are looking for.  In some cases we don't have the item, and you will need to offer the patron other options.  With the information given in the scenario, use library tools to look up the item and then describe what you would tell the patron about accessing the item they need.  All of the information you need should be on the computer. To submit this, enter your mentor's email address at the very end of the quiz.