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

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

Places to Practice Presentations

Is there anywhere on campus – either in the library, or elsewhere -that could function as a space to privately practice presentations? Most places are only available to groups, which means it’s hard if you need some privacy to rehearse an individual presentation. I have tried using the library group rooms when they are unoccupied, but the walls are very thin; the people outside the room could hear me, and I could hear them! Do you have any recommendations? I am a commuter so I unfortunately can’t practice in a dorm.

One of the reasons Temple University is planning for a new library building is to equip students with the type of learning spaces that best meet their needs. As you discovered, the study rooms in Paley Library were never intended to be presentation practice spaces.

While you could practice a presentation in our study rooms, as you point out, they hardly offer the soundproofing this type of room needs – nor are the rooms equipped with the right type of technology. What if you  wanted to record yourself making the presentation for later analysis?

The good news is that you can find presentation practice rooms in the TECH Center. There are breakout rooms specialized for presentation practice. It is true that the rooms are usually available to groups but you can go to the consultant’s desk in the TECH Center to inquire about personal use of the room. If the consultant is able to make the room available it can be used for one hour.

Good luck with your presentation.


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.