Browsing to Find Materials

Browse categories on the CountyCat home page

Browse categories refer to the boxes that appear on the CountyCat homepage. It offers an easy way for you to review items in our collections.  You click one of the larger buttons, and directly below that smaller buttons, called subcategories, will display. They are subcategories of the main category.  After clicking on a subcategory button, cover images display underneath representing titles on the area from CountyCat. 

The permanent CountyCat categories you will continue to see include New Materials, New York Times Bestsellers, New Movies & TV, Library of Things and World Language Collection.

Below is an image explaining the main areas of the browse category page:

Clicking on a new browse category button alters the list of titles that display.

  1. The house icon takes you to the CountyCat home page where the browse categories live.

  2. These are the category buttons.  Click on one and view the options below which may include subcategory buttons but also cover images which you can browse through and click to select.

  3. This is an example of a subcategory button.  In the above screenshot, the patron has selected the New Materials category. Underneath, several subcategories display.  Clicking on the New Large Print subcategory button shown here, updates the cover images (titles) that display underneath all browse category buttons.

  4. If you click on the text above the cover images, CountyCat will take you to the search results page. From there you can limit results further or perform other tasks. 

Searching

CountyCat search results display

After entering a search in CountyCat, you'll get a results display that looks like the one below.  

The components of the search results display

  1. Enter search terms here
  2. Drop down menu offering more ways to search (title, author, etc)
  3. After clicking the Search button, the results display will feature many limiters on the left.  As you checkmark options, the results will reconfigure in the main display.  
  4. The format icons in the middle are optional offering a more general, quicker way to limit by a few formats.
  5. The Search Within buttons to limit results to one library, all libraries, available now at a library, or any online item
  6. Format 

    CountyCat groups multiple formats together. That is why you'll see buttons for formats like Book, E-Book, E-Audiobook together. View a record grouping help guide here.

  7. Availability.  If you are in a library and it's available, you'll see call number information. Use Where is it for a quick view of the libraries with copies.
  8. Place a hold on the title in this format
  9. Click Show Copies to see the most information on where copies are held in Milwaukee County. The Add to List button lets you save the title for future reference.

View the Search Results help guide

Where is the publication date in CountyCat?

From the search results display in CountyCat, look under the title (in bold) for the publication date (or Pub. Date).

Search results often has the publication date listedSometimes, there is no publication date listed directly under the title because there are multiple editions for the format.  Click the Show Editions button to expand the area. You'll then see the dates of publication for all copies.  See the example below. 

The edition with the MOST holdable, available copies is the one listed first!  That's why the 2011 edition below comes up before the 2021 edition. 

Expand editions to see the publication date

Sort by Publication Date

Don't forget you may sort your results by publication date as well (new to old dates, or old to new dates).

Sort results in CountyCat by Date

Display the Publication Date in CountyCat [Vimeo - 1:14]

What does "Show Editions" mean?

Under the button for format, there is a Show Edition or Show Editions button.  You may or may not need to click to expand the edition.  If it just says Show Edition, there is only one edition. You can click the Place Hold button to initiate a hold, or click the title to access more details including copy information. 

When the button says Show Editions (with an 's'), it means there are multiple editions so clicking on that button expands the display.

CountyCat puts the HOLDABLE edition at the very top. If there is more than one holdable edition, it considers other factors to sort the remaining editions so that the "most available" come next.  Therefore, the editions are not listed by publication date. Instead, CountyCat sorts the multiple editions so the:

  • Holdable editions are first
  • Locally available items are higher
  • Items available elsewhere are higher
  • Editions with the most copies and the best holds ratio are next

In the example below, the 2018 edition displays above the 2019 edition because it has the most holdable, available copies for all of you!  If you want the specific edition, the information is there for you to find out where it's held.

Edition button explained

Viewing all copies in CountyCat

To get the full CountyCat record with the most details including copy information, click the Show Copies button or the Title

Click to bring up the full CountyCat record

Often, you'll need to click the Show Editions button to drill down further by format, and locate the Show Copies button. 

Show Editions button

When in the full CountyCat record view, you may SORT copy information using the headers at the top (location, status, etc). 

Sort on the fields at the top of the COPIES panel

View the full CountyCat record help guide

Search tips for common words and phrase searching

Tips for Searching with Common Words

The default type of search in CountyCat is "Keyword."  While that is the most inclusive search, looking anywhere in the record to find a match up with the search term entered, if you are looking for a specific title, it's best to change the search type to "Title" especially if the title includes common words. 

In this example, we are looking for The Last by Katherine Applegate. 

Title search


You could also use the "Start of Title" search with your the last phrase.


Or, another option is to put the common word title in quotes while using the "Keyword" search.  

Search with quotes for common titles


If your search has an article like The or An, plan to include that especially for short titles (e.g., The Help, The Shining).  Adding these in will improve your results. 

Tips for Phrase Searches

Wrap a phrase in double quotes "" (for example "last call"). That tells CountyCat you want it to search those exact works in that exact order!

put phrase searches in quotes

Search tips when you have author and title information

Tips when you know the author and the title

If you are looking for an item and you know the title, enter as much of the title and use the "Start of Title" search option.  See the example below for Swan song.  Play around with sorting the results after you search.

Start of Title Search

If you know the author or if the author is important to the search results, enter in part of the title with as much of the author's name as you can using the "Keyword" search option. 

For our Swan song example, perhaps you actually want the book by Robert McCammon.  You can enter in swan song McCammon as a keyword search and the results improve!  If the title consists of common words, plan to add the first and last name of the author to restrict results. For example for Leaving by Roxana Robinson, it's best to enter in leaving roxana robinson in your keyword search rather than only leaving robinson.

author and title search tip

Using filters to narrow search results

Filters or Limiters

From the search results display in CountyCat, use the filters (also called limiters or facets) to narrow results.  The options appear on the left side of the screen.  When you checkmark a box, the title results will change accordingly. The applied filters or limiters display at the very top. CountyCat has facets to limit by format, by audience and much more. 

Applied filters display at the top. If you click the round, red icon, it removes a filter.

Format Icons

There are options ABOVE the main search results display that let you alter the titles retrieved in CountyCat.  

The format icons, shown below, offer a way to broadly limit by format.  For example, choosing MOVIES would bring back any format like DVD, Blu-Ray, eVideo. . . If you want to have more control and specify exact formats, use the format facet at the left described above.  

Other ways to limit or change results

Search Within Buttons

Underneath the format icons in the search results display are the Search Within buttons. By default, CountyCat will apply the "Search All Libraries" button (see below). That looks for results throughout our library system. 

Choose "Items Available Now in a Library" to find available copies at any of our MCFLS libraries.

Choose "Items from an Online Collection" when you want a title from an eCollection (e.g. Libby). The titles may or may not be available right now. 


CountyCat shared catalog 

Search within options

The West Allis CountyCat catalog

Below, the "West Allis Public Library" button would retrieve all items from that location that are available.  

Local CountyCat catalog and its search within buttons

How to create a saved search

A saved search allows you to save searches to check on results over time.  This can be useful for tracking the latest titles from your favorite author, or to check for more items in a certain format tied to a given subject.  To do this, you need to be logged into CountyCat. Then you perform the search, apply any filters, sort the results, then choose the Save Search option under Search Tools and save it into your account.  Here's how.

1.  In the example below, we save a search to find DVDs or Blu-Ray DVDs covering the US national parks.  After performing a subject search, we use the limiters on the left side of the search results screen to retrieve the DVD or Blu-Ray DVD formats only.  Be sure to apply whatever filters or sort you want as a part of your saved search! 

2. Now, find the Search Tools drop down menu at the right of the screen and choose Save Search.

You can use limiters before saving a specific search

3.  CountyCat will prompt you to give your saved search a name.  Then click Save.  CountyCat will give you a confirmation box to let you know the saved search was successful.

Name your saved search

When you are next logged into the catalog, your Saved Searches will appear within Your Account > Your Searches.  You can re-run them by clicking on the hyperlinked word in the Search column. 

Your Saved Searches in Your Account


Your Saved Searches appear on the CountyCat home page

Once you have saved searches on your account, then when you go to the CountyCat home page, you'll see a new browse category for them.  Click the Your Saved Searches button.  That will pull up a subcategory button for each saved search.  You can review and get to that content from there!

Your Saved Searches will show up on the home page of CountyCat


Am I notified when there are new titles for my saved search? 

In addition to Your Saved Searches browse category which are updating over time, if new titles come into CountyCat that match your saved search within the last week, a notification displays in your account next to the Your Searches heading.  

New Updates to Your Saved Search

NOTE:  There isn't a way to revise and resave your saved search.  If you change part of your saved search (e.g., set to one format and add in a sort), you'll want to create a new saved search and delete the old one!

View the Saved Searches help guide.

The advanced search screen

When in the advanced search screen, be sure to click on the "Optional Filters" phrase to expand and display the filters or limiters

Along with putting in your search terms, you'll want to OPEN UP the filters or limiters area

Overview to the Advanced Search display

  1. Search for:  This is where you enter your search terms.
  2. Drop down search: Select the type of search you want to perform.
  3. Held by These Libraries:  This is where you select which location owns or holds the materials. The items may or may not be currently available for use, but you can always place a hold.
  4. Publication Date:  Here's where you may enter in a range of publication dates tied to your search.
  5. Added in the Last:  Instead of a range of publication dates, you can limit your results by indicating the  timeframe materials were last added into CountyCat.
  6. Find:  Click Find to execute the search!

Be sure to expand the limiters in the advanced search areaMore filters from the advanced search screen

How do I find titles in a book series?
  1. Enter your title.
  2. Use the drop down search options to search by series (not keyword).
  3. Click on the title (link) to go into the full record area.
  4. Scroll down to find the Discover More panel.  
  5. Under that area, look for Series information.  The titles should be listed in numerical order here.

Enter the book title and search BY series

Look for Discover More panel with series information

Can I see how many people are on the waitlist for a specific item?

If there is at least one available item, the number of holds placed by other patrons will not show in the search results. However, when all items are checked out or unavailable, then the number of other patrons currently on the waitlist will display. 

If you opt to place a hold instead of going to get an available copy, your place in line will still show under "Your Holds".