Today, we're continuing our look at Alice Baker Library's database collection with a look at Wiscat.
Wiscat is the statewide listing of library holdings. Our library homepage links to Wiscat, as does our database page. Its default is a simple keyword search field, but advanced search functions are available and easy to use.
On the right-hand side of the Advanced Search page is a group of search scoping choices. You can choose to search just Constellation group libraries, or Waukesha County libraries, or else open your search to the entire state. Also very useful is a media choice limiter. If you are seeking audio books only, or video only, you can limit your search to only items in those formats.
Search results will show a listing of various editions of the item. You can click on each item to see the libraries owning the item, the library system or group to which those libraries belong, and the call number for the item at each owning library. Constellation libraries owning the item will display at the top, followed by other Waukesha County libraries, followed by other state libraries.
At present, patrons are not able to directly place requests in Wiscat. Simply notify our Interlibrary Loan department of your request and we'll take it from there. Items owned by Waukesha County libraries take two or three days to arrive at our library; items from out-of-county libraries may take two weeks or more to arrive. If an item requested is currently on loan, a hold will be placed for you.
Wiscat doesn't use fuzzy logic--in a title search, you need to know the exact title. But keyword searching can be effective in zeroing in on an exact title. Or consult a book-selling website first--Amazon does use fuzzy logic and can help immensely in finding the exact title, the spelling of an author's name, or the publication date. Another thing to bear in mind is that new library holdings may not appear right away in Wiscat--uploads are made only every few months.
Still, Wiscat is invaluable--an indispensible tool for Wisconsin librarians. Give it a try!