Inver Hills Community College - IHCC

Finding Books in MnPALS

Table of Modules
Ask a Librarian
Monday - Thursday 8 am - 9 pm
Friday 8 am - 4 pm
Saturday 9 am - 3 pm

Phone: 651-450-3625
AskMN - 24/7 librarian assistance:

Chat with a Librarian
Research assistance by instant message, email or phone is available only during library hours.
If we are offline, please leave  your question and your contact information in the chatbox or email the librarian directly.

JavaScript disabled or chat unavailable.
Book Search
Search for books, eBooks, music, ...

Advanced Search

Limit to movies and video

Ebook and Video Databases
You can search and find ebooks and streaming videos in MnPALS, the library catalog but you can also use one of these databases.

Ebsco eBooks Restricted Resource Some full text available
Access to over 11,000 full-text books in all subjects. You will need to create an account to download books.

Films on Demand Restricted Resource Some full text available Resource contains video Resource contains audio
Access to over 200,000 streamed academic videos on a wide range of topics.
Finding Books
This module will show you how to search MnPALS, the Inver Hills CC library catalog. When you have completed this module you should be able to:
  • know that MnPALS contains more than books
  • find books on a topic using a keyword search
  • find books by title, author, or subject
  • identify the location of books or journals
  • identify a call number and use it to find items in the library
What is MnPALS?

MnPALS is the Library's online catalog or database. It has a record for each of the items that the Inver Hills Community College Library owns. These include:

  • Books, both print and electronic
  • Journals, newspapers & magazines
  • DVDs
  • Streaming videos
  • Music CDs
  • Other electronic resources, such as credible websites

Note: You won't find individual articles in MnPALS. You'll learn how to find them by using an article database described in the module 4.

Where is MnPALS?  You'll find the search box for MnPALS in the middle of the front page of the Library website. Look for Find a Book, Movie or CD.

MnPALS Searches
There are several options for searching MnPALS. The most important are:
Type of Search What It Does

All fields

Searches for items by keywords that may appear anywhere on the item record, such as the title, author's name, subject, etc.
Searches for items by the name of the author or creator of the work.
Searches for items by keywords that must appear in the item title.
Searches by keywords that appear in the subject heading.

  Use a keyword search when you:
  • Are just starting your search and need ideas for additional search terms
  • Need to combine two or more concepts
  • Are searching for a phrase (use quotes around your phrase for more accuracy, i.e., "gun control", "climate change")
  • Want to see what is available in the library on your topic

Keyword search tips:
  • A keyword search will often get you the most results.
  • No need to use capital letters in MnPALS.
  • Use an asterisk (*) to find variant beginnings or endings of a word, or as a "wild card" character in the middle of a word.
  • You can use connectors (AND, OR, or NOT); however, AND is assumed, so you don't have to type it in if you want to do this type of search.

Subject Searching in MnPALS

A Subject search in the library catalog, MnPALS, uses special terms to help organize books by subject. These are called Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH for short). If you enter your keywords as a Subject search, you get different results than a Keyword search. 

If you do a subject search on term, AIDS,  you'd see the library has almost 100 print books. Now, use the same term, AIDS, as a keyword search.  How many print books are there now?  Over 300!  Keyword searches always return more results but they may not always the most relevant.  Subject searches are a way to help narrow the search results to items that may be more relevant to your topic, but sometimes your topic may not have a LCSH assigned to it.  Aagh!


Make the most of Subject Searching

smile   The advantage of a subject search is that it provides a more focused search. 
frown   The disadvantage is that it's hard to know what LCSH term will be used for a topic.

Subject searches are useful:
  • For finding information about a person or organization.someone or something. To search for books about a person you can enter her/his name (enter the last name first) in a Subject search. Ex., parks rosa  or king stephen. 
  • To find books about an organization enter its name as a Subject search.  Ex., general motors corporation.
Where to Find Books in the LIbrary
Ok, so now you've done your search and you have some books to find.  Use the information in the MnPALS record to find the book in the Library. 
  • Available      Items that are not checked out will be indicated as Available. 
  • Unavailable  Usually means the item is checked out.  
  • On Shelf       Items that are available to be checked out will be on the shelf in the library.
  • Due Date      If the item is checked out by someone else, the Due Date column will show the date that the item is due to be returned to the library. 
  • Location Look here to find out where in the library the item is located.  If the item you found is an ebook or streaming video, you can access it directly online  by clicking the online access link in the MnPals record.
  • Call Number  Write down the call numberIt acts as the "address" of an item in the library.
The Inver Hills Library is on the first floor of the Library Building.  All print circulating books, DVDs, journals, music cds, and reference books are on one floor but in different parts of the library.  Ask a reference librarian or a circulation clerk if you need help finding your materials.
MnPALS Searching
Watch the video to understand how to do a keyword search in MnPALS.  Other searches covered will be: subject, title, and author.


Now you try! 

Click on the link below for a Word document with searching exercises.  Print or save the document to your computer.  Complete the exercises and bring or email it to the librarians at feedback. 

MnPALS Searching Exercise

Wrap Up
Good job!

This module showed you how to search MnPALS, the Inver Hills CC library catalog. Now you should be able to:
  • know that MnPALS contains more than books
  • find books on a topic using a keyword search
  • find books by title, author, or subject
  • identify the location of books or journals
  • identify a call number and use it to find items in the library

Please continue to Module 4 Finding Articles.


Powered by SubjectsPlus