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Tips for Navigating Owen Library - Johnstown Campus: Finding Books & AV Materials

Don't get lost in Owen Library! Learn how to find and access various resources & services available at Owen Library or through Pitt's University Library System.

Searching Techniques

Combining Search Terms - You can craft complex searches using Boolean operators AND, OR, and  NOT. These operators must be written in ALL CAPS.  The PITTCat+ searching default is the AND operator.

Phrase Searching - PITTCat+ allows for phrase searching with the use of “  “. For example, the search "pittsburgh renaissance" will find items with the phrase pittsburgh renaissance in them.

Wildcard and Truncation – You can use wildcards (* and ?) symbols to search PITTCat+.

The FUNdamentals of Book Care in Five Easy Lessons

Owen Library's Food & Drink Policy asks that no food is consumed anywhere in the Library and permits beverages that are in covered containers. Please help us ensure that our collections will remain in good condition and be available for future users by complying with this policy and applying the lessons found in the following video:


Search PITTCat+ for articles, books, & more



PITTCat+ is the gateway searching tool for all of the materials owned by the University Library system (ULS), including articles, books, e-books, journals, e-journals, e-audio and e-video, digital images, government documents, microfilm and movies.


Searching PITTCat+

Enter your search terms and click on the Search Library button. PITTCat+ will offer correct spellings, and search for variations of our search terms. 

The Result List will include articles, books, e-materials, and images. Click on the title of an item for more detailed information about the item, such as an abstract or the shelf location for a book. If full-text content is available, you can get the full-text by clicking on the item title or the "full text online" link. 

You can Refine Your Results by using the options on the left. Narrow your results to items in the catalog, a specific campus, format, publication date, limiting to scholarly information, and more.

If Full-Text Content is available, you can get the full-text by clicking on the item title or the "full text online" link.


How to read a call number

Every book in the library has a unique call number that indicates where it is shelved. Just as a house address tells where exactly a house is located on a street, a call number tells us where exactly on the shelves we can expect to find the book. Call numbers at Owen Library and the University Library System are based on the Library of Congress Classification scheme (LCC). LCC is an alphanumeric scheme, i.e., it uses both letters and numbers.

For example:


LCC numbers are read from top to bottom.

Look for the letters first, on the top line: HA. Read in alphabetical order, A-Z.

Then look at the whole number on the next line: 1625. Read in numeric order, 1-9999.

Then look at the letter(s) after the dot: O. Again, read in alphabetical order.

Then look at the decimal number: 87. Hint: read left to right numerically; nothing comes before something.

Last, you will see the year the book was published: 1999. Earliest date (or no date) comes first, if the rest of the call number is identical.

DON'T FORGET: Read the number before the dot as a whole number. Read the number after the dot as a decimal. So .A52 comes before .A6.

image of call numbers on books spines

The four books above are in the correct order.

The complete list of classes & subclasses and the subjects they reperesent in the Library of Congress Classification scheme is here: