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Help With ~ The Library Catalog

How do I know what's included in my search?

The library catalog searches Ex Libris' Primo Central Index, which encompasses hundreds of millions of records of global or regional significance that are harvested from primary and secondary publishers and aggregators. The number of records is constantly growing as additional data sources are added. The records include a mix of scholarly material – primarily articles and e-books – but also conference proceedings, newspaper articles, and more. In addition to citation metadata, many records include abstracts and some also include full text.

When you start searching the library catalog, you are given the choice between limiting your initial query to "Hamilton Resources," "Books at Other Libraries," and "Course Reserves." The results from this search may be further limited or expanded "using the options listed under "Refine my results."

catalog search scope screenshot


Unless you select a different category, all library catalog searches automatically default to "Everything." The "Everything" search includes records for items owned or licensed by Hamilton College. This includes (but is not limited to):

  • books shelved in Burke Library and the music library
  • e-books licensed by the library
  • electronic articles from journals and databases licensed by the library
  • print articles from our journal collection that have been indexed by our subscription databases or Primo Central
  • books and selected manuscripts housed in Special Collections and the College Archives
  • CDs and other audio materials shelved in Hamilton's libraries
  • DVDs and videocassettes shelved in Hamilton's libraries and in off-site storage
  • streaming video
  • microform collections


When you select the library catalog's "Books at Other Libraries" option you are searching the same underlying database that is used by, which includes 2 billion items from the collections of more than 10,000 libraries worldwide.


Selecting the "Course Reserves" option limits your search to articles, books, DVDs, and other items your instructor has asked the library to make available for your class. Many professors upload some materials directly to BlackBoard. Those materials are not available through the library catalog.

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