HELIX is the online catalog of the book, multimedia, and journal holdings
of the Norris Medical Library and the Wilson Dental Library. It does
NOT include indexing for individual journal articles; searches for journal
articles are normally conducted in one of the Ovid
databases. To search the holdings of USC libraries other than the Medical
and Dental libraries, use HOMER.
To search the HELIX catalog, first highlight one of the Search types
from the list displayed and then enter your search word(s) in the blank
Keyword searches are most useful if you don't know the exact title
or subject term that you are looking for. The Any Keyword search will
retrieve the greatest number of records because it searches all of
the individual Keyword indexes, including author, title, subject,
A typical keyword search of the Title Keyword index would be: review
psychiatry This search would retrieve all titles that have both the
word "review" and the word "psychiatry" contained
within them. HINT: Keep your search simple; the more words you put
in, the smaller your retrieval will be. If you don't know the exact
spelling of a word, you can truncate it with an asterisk (example:
laryng* retrieves all words that begin with 'laryng').
Keyword search retrieval displays as a scrollable list of abbreviated
records. To view a complete record, including the call number and circulation availability, click on the link
for 'View Record'. Note that the call number and availability are
at the bottom of the full record, and you may need to scroll to see
The Alphabetic searches work well if you know at least the beginning
of the author, title, subject, or series you are looking for.
A typical Title Alphabetic search would be Textbook of Neur. A typical
Subject Alphabetic Search would be Liver Neoplasms. A typical Author
Alphabetic Search would be Dickinson J. These searches will take you
to the records that fall closest alphabetically to the term you entered.
Click on the entry you want, and you will see a scrollable list of
abbreviated records . To view a complete record, including the call
number and circulation availability, click on the link for 'View Record'.
Note that the call number and availability are at the bottom of the
full record, and you may need to scroll to see them.
Viewing Related Records
When you are viewing a Full Record, you will see that authors' names
and subject terms are highlighted. You can click on any of these terms
to find additional titles by the same author or on the same subject.
To search for materials that have been placed on Class Reserve at
either the Norris Medical Library or the Wilson Dental Library, click
the corresponding Reserve collection link on the opening HELIX search
screen. You will then have the opportunity to search either by course
number or by the name of the instructor. Many of the entries for the
Norris reserve collection include clickable links to the fulltext
of assigned readings.
Click the button for "Patron Information" if you want to
check on books you have checked out or fines owed. You will need to
enter your library card number (barcode or USC ID) to use this feature.
By clicking on the 'Make Request' button displayed at the top of
each Full Record, you can place a Hold on any book that is currently
checked out. When the book is returned, you will be notified, and
the book will be held for you at the Loan Desk.
Timing out and Error messages
After ten minutes of inactivity, your HELIX session will automatically
time out. If you try to enter another search, you will be prompted
to restart the session. You will get the same message to restart your
session if HELIX encounters a command that it cannot interpret. One
such situation occurs if you attempt to scroll backwards in an alphabetic
list to entries that fall alphabetically earlier than the search term