Skip to Main Content

Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program: Finding Books

This guide will help students working on their Literature Review for their Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship project.

Accessing SOUTHcat from the University Library homepage

To access SOUTHcat, begin at the Marx Library homepage ( Click on the SOUTHcat Catalog link near the middle of the page.

screenshot of Marx Library homepage with SOUTHcat link highlighted

Searching SOUTHcat by Keyword

Use a keyword search when you have a topic, but do not know the titles or authors of books on the subject. Keyword is the default search type in SOUTHcat and should already be selected in the Search by: menu. Enter a keyword for each aspect of your research question in the Search for: box. You do not need to put and between keywords. Capitalization is not important but spelling is. Then click the Search button.

screenshot of SOUTHcat basic keyword search for "death penalty" innocen?

Tips and Tricks:

  •  Use ? after the root of a word to find all variants of a word (for example, innocen? finds innocent, innocence, innocents…)
  • To search for a phrase, put quotation marks around the words you want to keep together (“death penalty”)
  • Browse the Subject(s) field in records to find the right words for searches. (Example: Try doing a keyword search for "death penalty," then look at the subject(s) field in several records. You’ll see that the subject term is "Capital punishment." Click the subject heading to find more records with this subject.)

Searching SOUTHcat by Title

Use a title search when you know the exact title, or the first few words of the title. Select the Title option from the Search by: box on the right side of the screen, then enter the title in the Search for: box on the left. If the title starts with an initial article (a, an, the), omit it.

screenshot of title search for Lord of the Rings in SOUTHcat

screenshot of results of title search highlighting number of records and records

Searching SOUTHcat by Author

To search SOUTHcat by author, enter the author’s name, last name first, in the Search for: box. Select Author from the Search by: box, then click the Search button. Author search also works for editors, actors, directors, composers, and musicians.

screenshot of author search in SOUTHcat

Next, you will see a list of names. Select the appropriate name from the list.

screenshot of author results screen in SOUTHcat

This will show you all items in the catalog by this author.

screenshot of results by author in SOUTHcat




Reading the Results Screen


After you do a search,

you will see a results screen. The top of the screen will indicate how many results were found.

screenshot of SOUTHcat results screen highlighting number of results and recorts


You can limit your results to only those in a particular location in the library (such as the bookstacks).

screenshot of SOUTHcat results screen showing options to limit by age and location

You can also sort your results to display them in a different order, such as showing the most recently published information at the top.

screenshot of SOUTHcat results screen showing options for sorting results

Reading a Catalog Record

To view an item’s catalog record, click on the item’s title in the results screen. This will open the Brief View of the catalog record. The Location field will tell you which of the USA Libraries it is in, as well as the department it is in. The Call Number is the address of the item within the library. The Status field will tell you if the item is available for checkout. 

screenshot of catalog record with bibliographic and location information indicated