Online Searching Handout

How Do I Get Started using iPAC? [top]

At home: Go to and click “Online Catalog

At the library: Ask a librarian to direct you to a PC that has our Online Catalog on it, and ‘double-click’ the Online Catalog icon (picture).

How Do I Search using iPAC? [top]

  1. Click on the drop-down box that says General Keyword – note that you can change to an author, title or subject search (general keyword searches ALL of these combined).
  2. Click inside the box to the right of the one above, and type in the words for what you want, in any order.
  3. Click on GO If only one item appears, then you can find its shelf location at the bottom of the screen (you may have to scroll down). If your search was limited to Haverhill, and more than one item appears, then the shelf location, status (checked in, checked out, in transit, etc.) and format (book, video, CD, etc,) will be listed under each item.
  4. You may click on any blue-highlighted title in a list, to see a more complete description of the item and to locate copies owned at other MVLC libraries.
  5. If the item you are looking for is not owned by the Haverhill library, or is listed as ‘checked out’, you may request the item.
  6. Note – there are other ways to search, and to customize searches, using iPAC

***Please see a librarian for assistance.***

How Do I Request an Item? [top]

  1. Click on Request Title (at the top right of the item’s full description page)
  2. Select a Pickup Location (where do you want the item sent to?– usually Haverhill)
  3. Enter Borrower ID (your library card number – no spaces)
  4. Enter your PIN number (the last four digits of your phone number)
  5. Click on Submit Request. The system will confirm your request.
  6. A library staff member will call you when the item has arrived for you.

How Can I View My Patron Record? [top]

  • On the left side of any Online Catalog page, click on Patron Info
  • Enter your Borrower ID (your library card number – no spaces)
  • Enter your PIN number (the last four digits of your phone number)
  • Click on Log In
  • Click on an Option at the top of the page (Items Out, Blocks/Fines, Hold Requests, etc.)
  • Be sure to click on Log Out when finished.
  • How Do I Renew an Item? [top]

    1. Log on to Patron Info (see above)
    2. Click on Items Out
    3. Click on Renew All, or select individual items to renew by clicking on the check box next to the item. Then click on Renew Selected

    iPAC Glossary [top]

    Borrower ID
    In iPAC, your Borrower ID is your library card #.
    Browse Search
    Use this searching method when you want to see an alphabetical list of titles, authors, or subjects from which to pick something that you want.
    Community Information Database
    Search this database for brief information on local nonprofit and community service organizations. Information includes name address and phone number of the organization, and what their purpose and services are.
    Expanded Search
    An advanced search tool that allows you to do very sophisticated searches, including limiting your search by date of publication.
    General Search
    Allows you to narrow your search by language or format (video, book-on-tape, etc.)
    Log Out
    For security purposes, remember to log out of your Patron Info screen when you are done viewing it in the library.
    Patron Info
    Click on this button when you want to view information about your account at the library. View a list of books you have out, fines that are due, etc. You’ll need to enter your library card number and PIN # to access this information.
    PIN #
    Your PIN # is the last four digits of your phone number. See a librarian if you want to change this, or if your PIN # does not let you into your Patron Info.
    Quick Search
    This search method will usually save you time. To look for an item, type in any author, title, or subject words that you know.
    Request Title
    Click on this when you want to request a title that is not on the shelf in Haverhill. The title will be picked off the shelf by another MVLC library, and shipped quickly to Haverhill. You will be notifed when it arrives.
    The status of a book is whether it is checked out, checked in, on order, etc.
    Secondary Items
    Copies of an item held in other libraries in the Merrimack Valley.

    Databases Available for Research and Information [top]

    To connect to our online databases:

    1. Go to:
    2. Click the link that says “Research”
    3. Click any database link for “at home” research

    EBSCOhost [top]

    MasterFILE Premier – Provides full text for nearly 1,880 periodicals covering nearly all subjects including general reference, business, health, and much more.

    Health Source: Consumer Edition – Search for information on many health topics including the medical sciences, food sciences and nutrition, childcare, sports medicine and general health. Disclaimer: Information provided in this database should not be viewed as a means for self-diagnosis or a substitute for professional medical advise, diagnosis or treatment.

    Primary Search – Provides full text for over 50 children’s magazines and over 100 children’s pamphlets, designed for the elementary school student.

    Funk & Wagnalls New World Encyclopedia – Provides over 25,000 encyclopedic entries. Searchable by subject or keywords within the entry.

    EBSCO Animals – Provides in-depth information on a variety of topics relating to animals. The database consists of indexing, abstracts, and full text records describing the nature and habitat of familiar animals.

    Newspaper Source – Provides full text for 159 regional U.S. newspapers, eighteen international newspapers, six newswires, and nine newspaper columns, The Christian Science Monitor, and The Los Angeles Times.

    Hoover’s Company Capsules – Provides basic information on more than 13,500 public and private companies. This data includes addresses, phone and fax numbers, names of key officers, sales and employment figures and stock symbols.

    Hoover’s Company Profiles – Provides access to detailed profiles for 3,400 public and private companies in the U.S. and around the world.

    Clinical Reference Systems – Provides over 7,000 reports, in every-day language, describing symptoms, treatments, risks and after-effects of a vast array of medical topics and conditions.

    USP DI Volume II, Advice for the Patient – Provides patient-oriented drug information in lay language.

    Business Source Premier – Provides full text for nearly 2,280 scholarly business journals covering management, economics, finance, accounting, international business, etc.

    Professional Development Collection – Provides a highly specialized collection of nearly 440 full text journals, designed for professional educators.

    Business Wire News – This full text newswire database incorporates business wires from all over the world.

    Grolier [top]

    Encyclopedia Americana Online – 45,00 entries which are written by specialists for an audience of educated non-specialists. This title is ideal for both students and professional researchers.

    Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia – 36,000 entries intended for students in middle school and up and as a quick reference look-up tool for public library patrons of all ages.

    New Book of Knowledge – 9,000 articles suitable for grade 3 and up as well as ESL. Provides description complex subjects in an easy-to-understand manner.

    ¡Informe! (Revistas en Español)™ [top]

    Informe is the first reference database to provide indexing, full text, and images of the most popular Hispanic magazines. It also includes full text pamphlets on a variety of topics, such as health care.

    Infotrac [top]

    Contemporary Authors – Provides complete biographical and bibliographical information and references on approximately 100,000 U.S. and international authors.

    Contemporary Literary Criticism – An extensive collection of critical essays on contemporary authors. Each CLC–Select entry contains a biographical/critical introduction, listing of principal works, and sources for further study.

    General Reference Center (Magazine Index) – Use this general interest database to search magazines, reference books, and newspapers for information on current events, popular culture, the arts and sciences, sports, etc.

    Expanded Academic ASAP – Use this database to find information on: Astronomy, Religion, Law, History, Psychology, Humanities, Current Events, Sociology, Communications and the General Sciences.

    Health Reference Center-Academic – Use this database to find articles on: Fitness, Pregnancy, Medicine, Nutrition, Diseases, Public Health, Occupational Health & Safety, Alcohol and Drug abuse, HMOs, Prescription Drugs, etc. Disclaimer: The material contained in this database is intended for informational purposes only.

    General BusinessFile ASAP – Use this database to research all business and management topics. Includes directory listings for over 150,000 companies as well as investment analysts’ reports on major companies and industries.

    OneFile – A new single electronic resource that provides access to more than 3000 full-text periodical titles. Periodical content covers general interest magazines, academic journals, business and technology publication, law journals, and health care periodicals. Also included are five newspaper indexes, and indexing to another 3000 titles. In addition, you’ll find 89 newswire services from all over the world.

    Predicasts PROMT – Overview of Markets and Technology. Use this database to research companies, the products and technologies they produce, and the markets in which they compete. Includes summaries and full text from nearly 1,000 business and trade journals, industry newsletters, newspapers, market research studies, news releases, and investment and brokerage firm reports.

    Dialog [top]

    The Dialog@CARL Basic Collection provides access to over 250 databases in numerous areas including full-text access to many newspapers such as the Boston Globe. For a complete list of newspapers, visit

    SIRS Researcher [top]

    SIRS Researcher is designed to meet day-to-day research needs of both young people and adults. It includes selected articles from over 1,200 publications and over 100 colorful maps.

    SIRS Discoverer [top]

    SIRS Discoverer is designed to develop research, reading and other skills in young researchers. It also includes reference products, e.g., encyclopedia and an almanac.

    Tips and Tricks for Searching Databases [top]

    Look for a “Help” command somewhere at the site. It shows you how to search more effectively at that site.

    When doing ‘keyword’ searches:

    • Use the connector ‘AND’ between your search terms unless you are searching a phrase (i.e. search for “violence AND television” or the phrase “Tibetan buddhism”)
    • Use a truncation symbol (usually * ) to search for all forms of a word (i.e. type photograph* to search for photograph, photographs, photography and photographers – all at the same time)
    • Try using different words for the same subject and search them together with ‘OR’ in the middle (i.e. pharmacy OR drugstore)

    If you find too little, try broadening your search in one of the following ways:

    • Remove one of the words from your search. If you are using too many terms, you might be restricting the search too much.
    • Look for misspellings in the terms you have entered.
    • Change one of the terms to a broader term. For example, replace “peer counseling” with “counseling.”
    • Change an acronym to the full name of an organization. For example, replace “NAPWA” with “National Association of People with AIDS.”

    If you find too much – try narrowing your search in one of the following ways:

    • Make your wording more specific. For example, use “navy fighters” instead of “military aircraft.”
    • Add another word. For example, if you are searching for the word “baseball,” you are likely to find too many results. Limit the search by entering another word to your search, i.e. search “coaching baseball.”