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Library Catalog Help

The new library catalog, Primo, provides access to both physical and digital library materials allowing you to retrieve both books and electronic journal articles in a single search.

Basic Searching

The simple search box allows you to search across all collections or to select specific collections, or scopes, to search. When you start typing your query, the scopes will appear in a drop-down menu. You can search:

Everything: This includes the library's physical and digital resources, including subscription databases.

Library Catalog: This search is similar to searching the old catalog; it includes the library's physical collection and electronic books, such as the OSCI catalogs.

Articles: This includes most of the library's databases, as well as some digital content indexed in Primo Central, a search index of millions of records harvested from publishers worldwide.

Auction Catalogs: This includes the library's collection of print auction catalogs, which can be searched by date of sale (yyyymmdd).

Special Collections: This includes materials located in the print and manuscript Special Collections.

Archives: This includes collections located in the Ryerson & Burnham Archives.

Entering Your Search Terms:

  • Primo will search all of the words that you type unless you use OR or NOT in the search string. A search for ceramics or pottery will retrieve different results than a search for ceramics OR pottery, and a search or Irish not Celtic will retrieve different results than a search for Irish NOT Celtic.
  •  To search for items as a phrase, enclose them in quotation marks:
    "Armory Show"
    "Art Institute of Chicago"

If no quotation marks are used, Primo will find all results that include any of the individual words in the phrase regardless of whether they are adjacent to one another.

Wildcards

  • Enter a question mark for a single-character wildcard. For example, wom?n will retrieve materials containing the keywords woman or women.
  • Enter an asterisk as a multiple-character wildcard. For example, print* will retrieve material containing the keywords prints, printing, or printed. 
  • Wildcards may only be used within or at the end of words. A search for *typical will only retrieve material containing the keyword typical, but would not expand the search to include atypical or prototypical.

Grouping Terms

Parenthesis can be used to group terms within your query. For example:

To search for materials on either of the Chicago world expositions, search for:
Chicago (World's Columbian OR Century of Progress).

To search for materials on painting or sculpture in Renaissance Italy, search for:
(Renaissance Italy) AND (painting or sculpture)

Call Number Searching

Enter your call number with no spaces or punctuation. For example:

  • Enter 70817311A784rya to search for the Dewey Decimal call number 708.17311 A784rya
  • Enter N530A56E772013 to search for the Library of Congress call number N530.A56 E77 2013
  • Enter P25091 to search for the Pamphlet File call number P-25091
  • Enter 19731 to search for the Microfilm 1973 1
  • Enter 20002 to search for the Manuscript Collection 2000.2
  • Enter a20161111 to search for the Auction Catalog a20161111

Browsing

The browse feature allows you to browse materials in the physical library collection. You can browse by subject, author, or title. Click the entry to see associated records.

Enter subjects with or without punctuation. For example, to locate information on 20th century American watercolor exhibitions, you can enter either:

  • Watercolor painting, American -- 20th century -- Exhibitions
  • watercolor painting american 20th century exhibitions

Enter human subjects last-name first or according to the recognized authority heading:

  • Richter, Gerhard
  • Master of the Housebook
  • Toyen

Enter authors last-name first or according to the recognized authority heading:

  • Sullivan, Louis
  • Gogh, Vincent van
  • Leonardo, da Vinci
  • Art Institute of Chicago. Department of Education

You can enter titles with or without initial articles:

  • Croquis 
  • El Croquis

You can browse by Dewey Decimal call number or Library of Congress call number, as well as by author, subject, or title. Enter call numbers with correct spacing and punctuation. For example:

  • Enter 741.64095 T633d 2004 to browse Dewey Decimal call numbers near 741.64095 T633d 2004
  • Enter N5760 .P75 1990 to browse Library of Congress call numbers near N5760 .P75 1990

Advanced Searching

The advanced search view allows you to structure a precise search. The scope fields that appear at the top of the search screen are the same as those in the simple search:

Everything: This includes the library's physical and digital resources, including subscription databases.

Library Catalog: This search is similar to searching the old catalog; it includes the library's physical collection and electronic books, such as the OSCI catalogs.

Articles: This includes most of the library's databases, as well as some digital content indexed in Primo Central, a search index of millions of records harvested from publishers worldwide.

Auction Catalogs: This includes the library's collection of print auction catalogs, which can be searched by date of sale (yyyymmdd).

Special Collections: This includes materials located in the print and manuscript Special Collections.

Archives: This includes collections located in the Ryerson & Burnham Archives.

You can also limit your search by material type to locate:

  • All items
  • Articles
  • Audio-Visual materials
  • Books
  • Images
  • Journals
  • Pamphlets

Advanced search allows you to limit by date or language, or to add lines to combine searches for specific authors and titles and subjects.

The options for search type in the advanced search are:

  • contains: Results contain all words in the phrase, but not necessarily in this order or as close together
  • is (exact): Results contain the phrase exactly as entered in the search box
  • starts with: Results contain words that start with the search as it is entered in the search box

Signing In

Sign into Primo in order to view full results (including subscription resources), view availability information, manage your research (search history and favorites), view your library account details, or request library materials.

There are two options for signing in:

  • AIC/SAIC Login: Staff, interns, and volunteers at the Museum and faculty, students, and staff at the School should enter your ARTIC credentials here to sign into Primo.
  • Reading Room Login: Docents and AIC lecturers should enter your credentials here to sign into Primo. The public computers in the reading room are automatically logged in here for reading room visitors.

Managing Your Research

  • Click on the Save Query thumbtack icon to save a query. Click on the bell to be notified when new materials on your topic arrive.
  • Click on the thumbtack icon in the results screen to save an item. Saved items can be emailed or printed individually or as a list.

My Favorites

Click on the thumbtack icon to view your Favorites Page. Here you can:

  • View your saved searches.
  • View your saved items and email or print them.
  • View your search history.

My Library Card

Click on My Library Card to:

  • View the materials that you have checked out.
  • View your requests in process.
  • View your blocks or messages from the library.
  • Edit your personal details (change preferred phone numbers or email addresses).

Requesting Materials

You must be signed into Primo in order to request materials. Requesting privileges are associated with your user group. When you have permission to request something, you will see a blue request link that you can click to complete the request form. If you are requesting materials in the reading room, please be sure to add your chair number in the comments field.

For single-item works there will be one request link, but for serials and multi-volume sets, you will need to request the specific item that you would like to receive. Use the Description dropdown menu to scroll through long lists of issues.

Viewing Materials

You must be signed into Primo in order to view subscription content. Primo will open a new tab and link you as closely as possible to the article that you would like to access, but sometimes this means that you will be linked into the journal and need to navigate to the specific article of interest. Once you have accessed the content, you can use the database export options to save, print, or email the article. When you are finished, close the tab and return to your open tab to resume using your search results.