Why Didn’t My Library Search Work When I Have the Author’s First and Last Name?

The new Library Search system may work better for people who don’t know how to search at all or only know how to type into google, but it takes away large amounts of control from someone who does know how to research. It also doesn’t even work the way it is supposed to. I entered an author and your system said you had no books by her. Then I entered the title of a book by her, and you did have it, as well as another book by that same author, which I reached by clicking on the hot link for the author after going to the detailed view. Apparently your system can’t recognize Last Name, First Name in the author search, and is set up purely for people who don’t know how to alphabetize by last name–I had been expected to enter First Name Last Name, though that was nowhere mentioned.

Thank you for sharing your concerns about the Library Search and the issues that you have experienced recently.

In general, the current search should retrieve results for author queries regardless of how you format the name itself (i.e. “Last Name, First Name” vs. “First Name Last Name”). For example, in the advanced search for Author/Creator, you can specify whether you would like to retrieve results with an exact search phrase or all the words contained in the query (regardless of word order or placement). However, glitches do occur with the underlying system occasionally, causing unexpected results like in your case. Sometimes, this is related to errors in the records themselves, but often it is due to technical bugs and other issues with the current search platform, which is provided by a third-party vendor.

In order to address this type of problem and build out new enhancements, the Library Technology Development department is currently working on an updated version of the Library Search, which is scheduled to replace the existing one by July 2018. With this development, we are committed to addressing the feedback and concerns raised by our users, providing features for both novice and advanced researchers.

Please refer to our Library Search Road Map for more information about the work in progress. In the meantime, if you need assistance with the Library Search more generally, you can Ask a Librarian or contact asktulibrary@temple.edu for further help.”

I’m Finding the New Library Search Confusing. Please Help.

I am finding the library’s new search, Library Search, somewhat confusing. For example, when I search for a book and there are multiple locations, why isn’t the information for each location all together in one place? What can you do about this?

Thank you for contacting us about your frustrations with the Library Search. At this time, the staff at Temple University Libraries are still working to address some of the changes caused by our library system migration over the summer.

In some cases, for instance, there may be multiple records of the same work for items at different library locations. We encourage you to report problems with the Library Search to asktulibrary@temple.edu, so that we can do everything that we can to identify and address specific issues/bugs.

If you are unsure if an item is available at your current location, though, here are some tips for filtering by location and availability in order to get most out of the Library Search:

1.  If you are getting too many results after your initial search, you can limit your search by selecting one of the filters in the left-hand column. This includes Availability, which allows you to limit to items available “Online” or “At the Library,” and Library, which allows you to limit to a particular library location.

2.  In the search results, you can see if an item is available online and/or in a physical location. When something is available in more than one library, one of those locations will be highlighted in the search results, but not all. Make sure to open the record page for full details on the locations and statuses of library items.

3.  You can also text a call number from the Library Search to your phone for quick reference. Look for this option in the search results and at the top of record pages. 

If an item is unavailable at your campus, you can request that item from another library. For more information, see the FAQ How do I request an item that is unavailable at my library?

For general information about the Library Search, you can also check out the Library Search FAQs, which includes information about how to find books, articles, and more. If you need further assistance, you can Ask a Librarian or contact asktulibrary@temple.edu

Why Don’t More Catalog Records Have Book Summaries and Table of Contents

I’ll keep this short: It’s incredibly frustrating how many entries in Diamond are missing summaries and even a table of contents. There’s nothing more frustrating than finding an interesting sounding volume in a Diamond search, clicking it to find out more, and being left with some cryptic ISBN numbers and the oh-so alluring “includes bibliographic references.” I really hope this is fixed with the roll-out of the mysterious “Library Search” system.

Thank you for contacting us about your frustrations with the catalog information.

Since you mention having received information about Library Search, you know that the Diamond Catalog will cease to exist on June 29.

I asked our senior cataloging specialist, Carla Davis Cunningham to respond to your question about the added content to a bibliographic record and why the summary and contents are sometimes available and other times, not.

Here is her reply:

Thanks for sharing your observations about the book descriptions in the library catalog.  We’re very interested in knowing what the library’s users value.

When you see records that include summaries and tables of contents, it’s usually because the publisher has provided that information to the Library of Congress.  The Library of Congress shares all of its records for books with other libraries, so we get to enjoy the advantages at no extra cost.  However, not all publishers provide that data and not all records for books come from the Library of Congress.

At our library, it comes down to finding a balance between preparing materials for use quickly and providing the kind of enriched description you are looking for.  Our turnaround time for getting most new materials into the library catalog and available is pretty quick (if we do say so ourselves). To get those rich descriptions in all the records would take considerable added time and/or allocating additional funds to purchase this content (NOTE: There are commercial services, such as Syndetics Solutions, that sell the added content to libraries. Funds spent on these services would reduce the overall funds allocated for book purchases).

The note you mentioned, “Includes bibliographical references” can be taken as an indication that a book is scholarly in nature.  Hopefully the subject headings are of some use, but you are certainly correct that summaries and tables of contents provide much more detail.  I’m with you—I’d love to provide more descriptive information.  But like so many other things, it comes down to the cost.

The move to Library Search will not initially change anything about our descriptive metadata for books.  However, we will bring your concerns to the library administration and explore some possible ways to enrich our catalog with more of the content you’re looking for.​

Thank you again for sharing your concerns with us. As Carla indicates, I will share your message with the appropriate library administrator.

Steven Bell, Associate University Librarian
Temple University Libraries

Frustrated by Missing Books? Here’s What to Do.

I would like to express my disappointment with the library service about borrowing books. I am a first-year doctoral student who needs to write tons of papers, which means, it is important for me to locate and borrow books from the library with high efficiency. However, my experience in borrowing books in this semester has been very unsatisfied. After I locate the books that are supposed to be on-shelf indicated in searching on “Summon,” I usually find some of them missing on the shelves. Then I need to talk to a librarian to request a book from E-Z Borrow. It turns out that many of the books that appear as available on searching on “Summon” are actually missing.

Thanks for sharing your concerns about searching for a book in the stacks only to find that it is not there. I find that pretty frustrating myself when it happens. But let me share what I do when it does. I follow the same procedures available to any member of the Temple University community.

Like you, first I will seek out assistance from a staff member. Look for our student assistants who are wearing red staff vests. They can assist you by checking to make sure the book location information you have is correct and the correct location has been visited. If you don’t see a staff member in the area, visit the Stacks Supervisor office which is room 211 on the second floor of Paley Library.

If the book is not immediately located you should submit a “Missing Book” search form found at: http://library.temple.edu/services/forms/search-request  This will notify our staff to do a more thorough search throughout the library in the next 24-48 hours. You will then receive an email on the status of the search.

This will also help us to identify books that are missing so we can change their status on our online catalog. If books are missing and we don’t hear about it, there’s no way we can search for them or update their status on our system.

If the book is not found after the staff search for it, then you may want to search for and request it using E-Z Borrow. Just to clarify, you do not need a library staff member to request a book from E-Z Borrow for you. It is completely self-service. If you need assistance to learn how to use it, please ask a staff member for instructions.

One last thing, please know that we are currently preparing to move our collections to the new library. Yes, even though it opens in 2018 we still need a substantial amount of lead time to prepare for the move. We are currently identifying all the books that need new barcodes. As a result, many books are waiting to be processed. So something you are searching for may be on a book truck waiting for processing. If you notify us about a missing book, then we can hopefully locate it among those waiting for processing.

Since we don’t like missing books either, we will do everything we can to keep them from going missing. But when they do we are here to help you locate them or obtain them from another library.

Steven Bell, Associate University Librarian
Temple University Libraries

Please Stop Non-Temple Students From Coming In the Library and Making Noise

A group of people, who are locals and not students, continuously come to the library and have loud conversations that disturb everyone’s peace. They stand in groups and talk for hours, ignoring the students who are trying to get work done. I’m not sure why the staff here lets people without student IDs in. We pay a fortune to go here and it’s not fair for us to be disturbed by people who don’t pay to go here and aren’t even supposed to be allowed in the library to begin with.

Thank you for sharing your concerns about noise in the library. Our goal is to provide our students with the best possible study space, so we do pay attention to noise issues.

But let me first clarify what appears to be a misunderstanding on your part. Temple University Libraries is open to the public. We invite all community members to use our Library. So everyone is allowed to be in the Library, not just those with a currently valid Temple ID card. Those who do not have a Temple ID must show a form of photo identification and sign in with the door guard. It is part of Temple University’s mission to serve the public and the surrounding communities, and Temple Libraries supports that mission.

That said, we do expect everyone who comes into the Library, Temple student or otherwise, to abide our Library Code of Conduct, which asks for all patrons to be respectful of other and to maintain a quiet environment. You can find it here: (and we have it posted at our entrances)


So what can you do when students are being noisy and disturbing your ability to have a peaceful, quiet study space?

First, make sure you are actually in one of the Library’s quiet zones. If you’re trying to find quiet in one of our noise tolerant areas, such as the first floor west or the second floor east, you really can’t blame others for talking. We have a guide to all the quiet, study areas in the Libraries:


Second, what if you are in a designated study space and other people (whether it is students or otherwise) are making noise and disturbing you? Consider politely reminding them they are in a quiet zone and that if they wish to talk to go to a noise tolerant space in the library. If you don’t feel comfortable doing that, you can ask a staff member to do that for you. Depending on the time of the day, for example, late evenings, we may only have staff at the Tuttleman service desk. There are red phones on each floor that can be used to call that desk directly. Staff members will intervene as needed.

Research has shown (yes, librarians have actually done research on what contributes to and helps prevent noise in libraries) that the most effective way for noise to be controlled is for patrons who want to keep things quiet to self-police and remind others that the library is a quiet space for study – and especially is areas designated for quiet study.

If patrons, Temple students or otherwise, continue to be noisy and refuse to move to another space, they will be in violation of our Library Code of Conduct and will we deal with that accordingly.

Sorry that you had a bad experience here, and we hope that you are able to find a better, more quiet space in the Library that suits your needs.

Steven Bell
Associate University Librarian
Temple Libraries

How To Find the Latest Articles in Major Newspapers


Is there a way that we can get unlimited access to the New York Times, the New Yorker,the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and other similar non-academic publications through our library accounts? Sometimes my professors give us assignments that require news articles from such newspapers/magazines and it can be very easy to exceed the maximum number of free articles per month. I’m aware of the hard copies available to us, but what about online access?

Thank you for this suggestion. There is no doubt that having campus-wide access (what we refer to as a “site license”) to these major newspapers would be great for many students and faculty. We have actually investigated it and sadly the costs for a site license for an institution of this size are far beyond what our materials budget would allow.

Don’t despair. There is a way you can use our existing library electronic databases to access articles from these major papers within 24-48 hours of publication. I checked today for the New York TImes and articles from today’s paper are already accessible online. Here is how you would get to them:

Start at the library home page and click on the tab for “Journals” as shown below:

Screenshot showing how to choose the "Journals" tab on the library home page and search the paper by name

Choose the “Journals” tab on the library home page and search the paper by name







Then enter the name of you desired paper into the search box that says “Title begins with”. You can also search for words contained in a title.

Assuming we subscribe to that publication via one of our databases, your search result will show where that paper can be found (and pay attention to the date range of availability).

Results from Journal Finder Search

Results from Journal Finder Search








In this example journal finder indicates the NYT is available in ProQuest Newstand. “To Present” indicates that recent issues should be available.

Next – just click on the link for ProQuest Newsstand to be directed into that database. Please note that if you are off campus you will be asked to authenticate to our network before being directed to ProQuest Newstand. Also – very important – do not go directly to ProQuest databases via the web. You must access these databases through the library homepage. Otherwise your Temple network account will not work.

Once you have accessed ProQuest Newsstand you will scroll down to locate links to different issues by date. Please note that this may differ a bit depending on which database you are accessing, but in general there will be links to the issues chronologically. See the example screen below.

Then it’s just a matter of drilling down to the date that contains the issue you want to read. Once you arrive at the issue you can scroll through the available articles.

If you have a specific article, with a unique title along with an author, you can also trying finding it with a more direct Summon search (the search box is on our library home page). Sometimes that will get you to your article faster.

If you need additional help with this technique, just stop by our “Ask Here” desk in Paley Library (or our Science & Engineering Library) or request virtual help or set up an appointment with a librarian.

screen shot of the proquest newsstand database showing date range

Screen shot of the proquest newsstand database showing date range

Robotic Retrieval and Library Browsing

I’m confused about how the whole robot retrieval system will work at the new library. Will patrons be unable to stroll the shelves and browse through books?

When the new Temple University Library opens in 2018 it will contain print books. Lots of books. The number of books will be about equivalent to what is currently contained in the Paley Library. The majority of the books will be stored in a robotic retrieval system. The quick answer to your question is yes. There will be books on shelves. Patrons will be able to stroll and browse in what will be a smaller physical collection of books than now found in Paley Library.

The new library will have a robotic storage and retrieval system that is referred to as an Automated and Storage Retrieval System (ASRS). Some of your confusion can be eliminated by familiarizing yourself with the ASRS, which you can do by watching this video or possibly this one. Either one will give you a better sense of what the ASRS does. It is almost becoming the norm for any new academic library building to take advantage of ASRS technology. This is because an ASRS allows for high-density storage so that the per volume cost of storing a book is as much as one-fourth of the cost of stack storage. Even the new library and learning commons being built at the much smaller Marywood University includes an ASRS.

Why are 21st-century library buildings incorporating the ASRS? It is a matter of efficient space utilization – and thinking ahead about how people will use research libraries 20, 30, 50 years and beyond into the future. Instead of having 29 miles of shelving and two entire floors devoted to book stacks as the current Paley Library does, the new Temple University Library will feature only one floor dedicated to open book stacks. That means a far greater amount of floor space may be devoted to to an environment where students, faculty and librarians can engage with each other for learning and research.

The new building will feature great resources such as the new Center for Learning and Student Success, a faculty suite for digital research and visualization lab, over 40 hi-tech study rooms for students, four instruction rooms, student-librarian consultation rooms, an innovation center, a dedicated reading/quiet room, a one-stop service zone, much improved spaces for events, a 24/7 cafe, an expanded Special Collections and Research Center and much improved display space. The only way to achieve all these enhancements is to shift floor space currently dedicated to book stacks to new people space.

While the number of books on stacks will be less than what Paley now offers, some 200,000 titles will still be available in open stacks for browsing. We are currently performing a collection analysis to identify the sections of our collection that are most sought after for browsing, such as the arts, architecture, music, literature and others. Disciplines such as business and technology, where books are less sought after, are primary candidates for the ASRS.

At Temple University Libraries we understand the value of book browsing for the exploration and discovery of new knowledge. As much as possible we will seek to continue the tradition of serendipitous discovery in our collections. Over the next two years we will also be exploring new technology, already being tested at other libraries, that offer a much improved library catalog search experience that brings the feel and power of book browsing to the computer screen. Our technology team will be working to develop an integrated shelf browsing app that will bring together all our holdings in single virtual shelf environment. As the new library project evolves we will be sharing more information about the building with the Temple University community. Look for more to come in 2016.

What Good Is An E-Book Only One Person Can Read?

What is the point of an e-book if only one user at a time can view it? I was thrilled to discover that a text for one of my classes was available as an e-book on Paley’s website, but it looked like another student had beat me to it. When I attempted to view the first chapter, I was notified that multiple users cannot access the e-book simultaneously. If websites can handle multiple visitors, than why not e-books? We are talking about two simultaneous readers – not 2,000. E-books are supposed to provide the flexibility that physical texts cannot provide. Is there any way that Paley’s e-book collection could permit multiple readers?

You do indeed raise a good question. If another student beat you to the physical version of the single copy of a  textbook in our collection there isn’t much you could do. You could put a hold (to be the next borrower) on it but that wouldn’t help you get it right away – which is what you want. Because pretty much everything on the Internet can be accessed immediately and by unlimited numbers of users (e.g., the latest cat videos on youtube). So it’s totally reasonable to expect that a library e-book would also be available, simultaneously, to more than one reader. The only problem is that commercially published e-books don’t always work that way. I asked our Head of Collections to provide some context for the problem you encountered:

While many of our e-book collections do allow for unlimited simultaneous users (see http://guides.temple.edu/ebooks for further info) other publishers think it necessary to limit the number of similtaneous users in order to protect their revenue from the sale of books.  This is particularly true in cases such as yours, where a book is serving as a text for a class.  From the publisher’s perspective, they stand to lose money if a library is able to purchase a single ebook which is then used by multiple students in lieu of the students each purchasing their own print or ebook copy.  In some cases, a publisher will allow multiple users for an ebook, but only if the library pays a very high price premium – something that we are unable to afford.  We agree that it certainly is counter-intuitive to have these sorts of artificial usage constraints on ebooks and would prefer to only offer unrestricted use ebooks, but, unfortunately the current library ebook market does not allow for this.

I hope this explanation is helpful to you. If you go to the ebook guide mentioned above you will see that quite a few of our ebook collections have no restrictions on simultaneous usage. We can only hope that eventually all the ebook publishers will catch on to the value of eliminating usage restrictions. As you say, even allowing 2 or 3 simultaneous users would help. We agree.


Why Is It Called “Ask Here”?

You should replace the “Ask Here” banners with something like “Catalog Computers”.

Also, you should add an arm to the mounting bracket that those computers are on, to provide a flat or tiltable surface for the papers or electronic devices whose screen the user is typing from. If one hand has to hold the information source, all we can do is hunt-and-peck one-handed, which takes a lot more time.

Thanks for contacting us about changing the banner. Those banners actually say exactly what we mean. Let’s clear up one thing. Yes, there are computers right below the banners that you can use to search the library catalog. Those computers are there primarily for quick lookups – no chairs as you noticed.

The banners really have nothing to do with those computers. “Ask Here” is our way of letting students know that they’ve arrived at the right location to ask a library staff member a question. That’s what that big round desk is for. The people sitting there can help you find what you need, help you with research, recommend research resources and much more. Our librarians are subject specialists who have expertise in many of the subjects taught at Temple University.

So the next time you have a question – go ask it there.

We have explored the possibility of adding some sort of platform where students can put their books or device while they type on the keyboard of those lookup computers. We’ve not been able to find a good solution that will fit that particular space. But it’s been a while since we last looked and perhaps we need to try again.

Thanks for your suggestion.

Steven Bell
Associate University Librarian


How Come I Can’t Find a Fax Machine at Temple U?

I once made an inquiry about faxing options on campus, and I was told that there are no fax machines in the library. (Please correct me if this is untrue). Consequently, my only option was to scan in my document to a computer and use free fax websites online such as FaxZero.com. The issue with such sites is that they typically have a page limit, and longer faxes require a monthly membership fee which can really add up for students on a limited budget. I would like to suggest that Paley Library invests in a fax machine. Even though it is 2015 and faxes are widely perceived as archaic, I still find myself needing to send faxes on a fairly regular basis. Please consider acquiring a fax machine for student use, In the meantime, if you know of any places on campus that allow students to send faxes, please publicize them! Thank you for looking into this.

Whoever told you that there are no fax machines in the library is totally correct. We eliminated our public fax machine several years ago owing to a sharp decline in the demand for fax service, and as a cost savings measure. We had to pay for the phone line connected to the fax machine whether we were faxing or not.

However, there is a place you can go to send and receive faxes on campus. It’s a service provided by the UPS Store in the Student Activity Center. Faxing is identified as an available service on the SAC webpage’s list of service partners. That’s another reason we eliminated our fax service in the library. We knew that students who needed to fax could still go to the UPS store for that service.

You may want to go back to that person who told you there is no fax service on campus and let him or her know they need to get their “facts” straight (pun intended).