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Database Searching

A research guide explaining the fundamentals of searching Widener's various subscription databases.

What it is:

Widener University's online catalog, searches the library collection of the Legal Informaction Center on both the Wilmington and Harrisburg campuses, plus the Wolfgram Memorial Library on the Chester campus. The online catalog is key to determining what resources are available in the library collection, and precisely where they are located.

Search the Library Catalog

Finding Books in the Library

Materials in the Widener University Libraries are classed according to the Library of Congress classification schedule.  You may perform a subject, author, or title search in the online library catalog (http://libcat.widener.edu/) to find materials in the Widener libraries.

You can also perform a keyword search.  A keyword search is a broader search and you will likely receive more hits than if you performed a subject specific search.

Request for materials

Since the online catalog includes materials located at three seperate locations, you may find the item you want at another Widener library.  Just use the catalog's Request link on an item record to order the item you want.  The Request function is only for the use of current students, faculty and staff.

The Request function is only available for an item that is NOT located at your local library.  After clicking on the Request link, you will be asked to provide your name and the bar code number located on the back of your Widener ID. 

You will be alerted by E-Mail when your requested items are available.  Deliveries from other campuses usually arrive twice a week.

Searching the catalog:

My library account

Part of Widener University's online catalog is the feature called "My Library Account."  With this, library search results can be saved, due dates for currently checked-out resources can be viewed, items renewed, and catalog searches can be saved.  To access this feature, click on the "My Library Acount" link on the top-left of the catalog page.  You will be asked to provide your name and the barcode numbers on the back of your Widener ID.

Catalog information

The information on a library resource that the Widener catalog reveals includes: call number, location, and status. 

The call number, in conjunction with the location tells you where and on which campus an item is located.  The three campus locations are: (D) Delaware, (H) Harrisburg, and (M) for Main Campus -- Chester.

The library locations are further broken down by internal locations such as Reference, Treatises, Stacks, Reserve, Study Aids, Microform, etc.  

An item's staus box tells whether the resource is available.  If the status is "check shelves," the item should be available on the shelf.  If an item has been checked-out, the catalog will show the due date.

Frequently, in search results, there is a link called "website" which links to an online database that has the electronic-version of the resource.  Inside an item record, there will also often be a link to the full-text version of the resourcem either from LexisNexis or Westlaw, or one of the libary's online databases.

Obtaining Books and Articles through InterLibrary Loan

If none of the Widener libraries owns the book or article you need, you may request it through InterLibrary Loan.  ILLiad is the InterLibrary Loan service used by Widener.  Please note that you must first register for ILLiad before you can request materials through InterLibrary Loan.  To register, click on the InterLibrary Loan link listed under the "Library Services" section on the Library's homepage at:  Widener Law Commonwealth Library

Next select the campus on which you are located, and click on "First Time Users."  Once you have registered, fill in as much of the request form as possible.  The more information you provide, the better.  If you are a registered user of ILLiad, simply enter your username and password to continue. 

Most photocopies will be delivered electronically.  You will be notified via your Widener email account with a link to your article, which will be in pdf format.

All InterLibrary Loans, except copied articles, must be returned to the Information Desk by the due date.