University of Southern California

Help With Helix

THE BASICS

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 box.

Keyword Search

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, and series.

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 them.

Alphabetic Search

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.

 

SPECIAL FEATURES

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.

Class Reserves

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.

Patron Information

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.

Placing Holds

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 you entered.

 

Revised 11/20/08

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