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Online Catalog Frequently Asked Questions

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What is the Online Catalog?

The Online Catalog is one of the most powerful features of the Peninsula Library System. Use the Online Catalog to see the holdings of all 34 public and community college libraries in San Mateo County. It lists all the books, magazines, videos, CD's, and other materials. You can also use the Online Catalog to see your library account for materials you have checked out, asked to borrow, or any fees you may owe. We are happy to make this library service available to all residents of San Mateo County.

What is the Internet address for the Online Catalog? I want to bookmark it.

Set your browser to http://catalog.plsinfo.org.

How can I check my library account?

Enter the Online Catalog at http://catalog.plsinfo.org. After the catalog loads (this may take a few moments), click the Your Library Account button on the left of the screen. You will be asked for your 14-digit library card number and PIN.

What is my PIN?

Your PIN (Personal Identification Number) is the last four digits of your telephone number you gave us when you applied for a library card. If you cannot see your library account your address and/or telephone number may be out of date in our records. Please visit one of our libraries to have this information updated.

Can I change my PIN number or my email address online?

Yes, you can change your PIN (Personal Identification Number) on the Online Catalog and if you are signed up to get your library notices by email you'll be able to change your email address there too. Here’s how you do it. Go to http://catalog.plsinfo.org and click on the 'Your Library Account' tab. Log in using your library account number and your current PIN. Then click on the word 'Profile' in the orange bar at the top.

The third beige bar says 'Personal Identification Number (PIN)'. This is where you can change your PIN. Simply type in the old PIN, type in the new PIN, and then re-enter the new PIN. Click on 'Update' and your new PIN is now in effect.

On the second beige bar on the page you'll see 'Email Information'. If your email address displays there it means you're already signed up for Email Notification, and you can change your email address here. Simply delete your old address, type in your new one, and click on 'Update.'

To sign up to get your notices by email go to the email notification page.

Can I renew items I have already checked out?

 

You certainly can. While in the Online Catalog click on the Your Library Account button. Type in your library card number and PIN and an Account Overview screen will appear. Click on 'Items Out' and you'll see a list of the items you have checked out. To renew any or all of these items, click on the checkbox to the left of the item(s) you want to renew and then click on the 'Renew' button.

Please note: Some materials cannot be renewed! Usually these are audio tapes, videos, new materials, items on hold for someone else, or items that have been already renewed.

I'm having trouble getting email notification of holds and overdue materials. What do I do?

Please click here to see the Email Notification FAQs.

How do I specify that I'd like to be informed via email when an item I've put on hold is available?

Check to see if you have signed up to get your notices by email by going to the “Your Library Account” tab in the Online Catalog. Log in and then click on the “Profile” sub-tab. Look at the “Email Information” section just below your personal information. If the box contains an email address, you’re signed up for email notification. If the box is empty you are not. To sign up for email notification, simply fill out the form on the Email notification page.

Are there directions for the Online Catalog?

The Online Catalog comes with an online help file you can look at by clicking on the Help button in the upper right-hand corner.

How do I search the catalog?

After the catalog loads, you will see a drop down menu to choose keyword, author, title and a variety of other search choices. Then type your term(s) into the second box. That's it. You are now searching the catalog. For more information on searching, please see the User Guide.

But wait! There's more! When your search appears you can use the Limit by pull-down menu to refine your search results. You can limit by type of materials, such as books on tape or large print. Or you can limit by location, for example, your community library. Click on the title or the cover art (if cover art is available) to see more information.

Can I alter the order my search results are displayed?

Yes, you can. When you see your search results by using the Sort pull-down menu. You can sort your results by a Word Sort, or Title, Author, and Publication Date.

Can I save and email a list of books?

The system does not save lists for you on our server as the old one did. It does however allow you to create lists which you then save on your own hard drive. The new system will not remember them from session to session. Here's how to export a list:

  • Do an Any Word search. On the search results page you get click on the book bag for items you want. A gray “View Book Bag” button will appear under the yellow bar. Click on the “View Book Bag” button and you will be able to email the saved list to yourself.
  • If you do Subject, Title or Author searches you can check off the items you want and then click on the “Save Marked Records” button. Then “View Book Bag” and continue as above.

You can also use the above procedure to make multiple requests.

How will I know my requested item is ready to pick up?

You will receive a telephone call from our automated telephone system when your item is ready to be picked up at the library you chose when you requested the item. Instead of a telephone message, some people prefer the convenience of an email message when their requested items are ready. If you would prefer to receive email messages for requested items or fines, just fill out our online form.

I've already requested an item, but now I want to change where I pick it up.

This is not possible in the Online Catalog. To change a pick-up location, visit or call your local library (you can find the address and number on the Library Locations and Hours page.) The librarian will be happy to help you.

I'm having trouble getting email notification of requested items and overdue materials. What do I do?

Please click here to see the Email Notification FAQs.

I placed a hold on a title in the Online Catalog but when the hold was filled it was for a different volume than the one I wanted. How can I place a hold on a specific volume?

When you encounter a record in the catalog that has items for different volumes, parts, or years, you need to call your local library and ask a librarian to place a “copy-specific” hold for you to insure that you receive the item that you want.

How do I see the holdings of a title?

Search for the item you want by putting a title, keyword, or author name in the search box and click on 'Go'. This will get you to a 'Search Results' page. (If you have searched for an author you'll first get a list of authors to choose from. When you click on an author name, you'll get to the 'Search Results' page.) From the 'Search Results' page, simply click on a title or cover art (if there is cover art) and you'll see the detail page for that item. Holdings information will appear underneath 'Copy/Holding Information'.

Are there summaries or reviews available like there are on Amazon?

Load your search and go to the detail page for the item you are interested in. Look at the lefthand column; the Holdings Information is highlighted because that is the default for the detail page. If Summaries or Reviews are available for your item, you will see the links listed below 'Holdings Information'. Simply click on the link you want, and the information will be displayed.

How do I change my email address?

While in the Online Catalog, click on the Your Library Account button. Type in your library card number and PIN (default is the last four digits of your telephone number.) Once you are in the Your Library Account screen click on the profile tab. Then in the Email Information section enter your new email address and press "Update".

How do I renew books online?

While in the Online Catalog, click on the Your Library Account button. Type in your library card number and PIN (default is the last four digits of your telephone number.) Once you are in the Your Library Account screen. Click on Items Out link you will see a listing of items checked out to you. To renew these just click on Renew button and the item is now renewed. If you want to renew more than one item simply put a check in the checkbox to the left of each item you want to renew, and then click on the Renew button.

Please note: Some materials cannot be renewed! Usually these are audio tapes, videos, new materials, items on hold for someone else, or items that have been already renewed.

Are there any alternatives to the Online Catalog?

You can use Telecirc, a voice mail interface, to renew items over the phone.