Need help searching the Barton catalog?
If you don’t find what you need here, Ask Us!
What is the Barton catalog?
Barton is the gateway to the holdings of the MIT Libraries. These holdings include many different types of materials: 2.6 million printed volumes, 20,000 serial subscriptions, CDs, videos, microforms, online resources, and more. Fundamentally, Barton is a very large database of our collections – this database allows you to find materials by author, title, subject, and many other criteria; it also functions like an inventory system and tells you the precise location of items in the library and will provide pointers to online resources. See other search options.
What isn’t included in the Barton catalog?
- articles within the journals, conference proceedings or books. To search for articles, use BartonPlus.
- books that are not owned by the MIT Libraries. To search for non-MIT Libraries books, use MIT’s WorldCat.
- many materials published before 1963 are not included – a project is currently underway to get all these early materials cataloged; meanwhile consult the DDC microfiche catalog that is available in all the major MIT Libraries
In a keyword search, you can combine search terms using the Boolean operators AND, OR, NOT. (Note: AND is assumed between words.)
- The AND operator retrieves records in which all your search terms are present.
- Using OR broadens your search. Example: subject keyword = geothermal resources OR subject keyword = geothermal engineering.
- Using NOT narrows your search. Example: subject keyword = microeconomics NOT subject keyword = models.
A Browse Search results in a Browse List, an alphabetical list of entries that shows the number of records for each entry and indicates whether or not there are cross-references for the entry. Click an underlined entry to view the associated records for the entry.
There are three ways to display a Browse List:
- Do a Browse (or “begins with”) Search.
- Use any type of search to display records. When viewing a record, you may click underlined text to display a Browse List of entries. Example: if you click on a subject heading, e.g. Architecture — History, you will receive an alphabetical list of subject headings beginning with Architecture — History. You may then click on any of these headings to display the associated records.
- While viewing a list of cross-references, click on underlined text to display a Browse list.
A Browse or “begins with” Search (such as: title begins with, subject begins with) enables you to scroll through an alphabetical (or numerical) index. Indexes available are:
- Title begins with…
- Author (last name first)
- Subject begins with…
- Title, Author, Subject begins with…
- Call Number begins with…
- Personal Name (last name first)
- Corporate Author begins with…
- Conference Name begins with…
- Abbr. Journal Title begins with…
- Series Title begins with…
- SuDocs Number begins with…
- Int’l Standard Music Number
- Music Publisher Number
- OCLC Number
- UPC Code
- Barton System Number
Choose the index you’d like to browse, then enter the text from which you’d like to start browsing. The text will appear as the second entry of a scrollable list. For example, entering “title begins with economics” will give you an alphabetical list with the second entry “economics”. You can then scroll down to entries such as “economics and biology” and “economics of innovation”.
There is currently a limit of 36 characters for browse searching. For example, entering a Corporate Author begins with… search “Massachusetts Institute of Technology Artificial Intelligence Laboratory LISP Machine Group”, you will be placed at “Massachusetts Institute of Technology” and will need to page down to get to the correct entry.
You can access the full view, or most complete listing, of a record by clicking on the number next to it or on the “Display full record” link above any item in the Brief Results List. You can also access a full view from a keyword search.
In the full view, you have the option of viewing the record in Standard, Citation or MARC format. Standard is just that — what you are accustomed to seeing in library catalogs. Citation shows how the item might appear in a bibliography. MARC is the machine readable catalog record.
The full view has links that allow you to:
- Navigate to previous and next records or a brief results list.
- Move to searches on the same subjects, titles, authors, etc.
- Jump to holdings information.
- Move to external files, such as an electronic journal.
- Add the record to Your Bookshelf, or save, email, or print the record.
For an ISSN search, enter all eight digits including the hyphen. When doing your search be sure to include all leading zeroes. ISSN example: 0022-4537
For an ISBN search, you should enter all ten digits with no hyphens. When doing your search be sure to include all leading zeroes. ISBN example: 0871138018
ISSN and ISBN number searching are available as Keyword and Browse searches on the Advanced Search screen.
If you need to search for a journal title and you have only the journal title abbreviation, try one of the following searches:
- on the “Advanced Search of Full Catalog” page:
- under “Keyword Searches”: Abbreviated Journal Title
- under “Browse an Alphabetical List”: Abbr. Journal Title begins with…
- on the “Search for Journal only” page:
- under “Keyword Searches”: Abbreviated Journal Title Keyword
- under “Browse an Alphabetical List”: Abbreviated Journal Title begins with…
If your search results in zero hits, do not assume we don’t have the journal. Barton may simply use a different abbreviation — there is no universal standard for periodical title abbreviations. Ask Us! for assistance, or use one of these resources to determine the full journal title:
Click on “Journals” in the top menu to limit your search to journals only.
Note: to search for articles in journals, use BartonPlus.
A Browse or “begins with” search (such as Title begins with, Subject begins with) enables you to scroll through an alphabetical or numerical index. Use a browse search when:
- you know the exact title (or the first few words of the title) you’re looking for
- you know the exact subject heading and want to see items on that subject
- you want to find works by a certain author
- you know the ISBN (for a book) or ISSN (for a journal) number
- you’re looking for titles in contents. Contents are frequently listed in the full record for music.
The following five “Browse searches” are available in “Basic Search” mode:
- Title begins with…
- Author (last name first)
- Subject begins with…
- Series Title begins with…
- Call Number begins with…
The complete list of available Browse searches are in “Browse an Alphabetical List” on the Advanced Search screen. Choose the index you would like to browse and enter the text from which you would like to start browsing. The citation that matches the text you enter (or the closest match) will appear as the second line down in a scrollable list. For example, entering “Title begins with economics” will give you an alphabetical list with “economics” in the second line. You can then scroll down to titles such as “economics and biology” and “economics of innovation.”
A Keyword search looks for words in any field or in a field you specify, as in a “Title keyword” search. Use a Keyword search when:
- you know a word, or some words, from the title
- you are searching for a work by multiple authors or editors, and you have the name of at least one of them
- you are looking for a book or books on a certain topic, but do not know the subject heading for the topic.
- you are looking for titles listed in the contents notes, such as works of music
A simple Keyword search will look for these words in any field. Specific fields that may be searched by keyword include: title, author, subject, series title. For a complete list of the fields that may be searched by keyword, click on the drop-down box next to “Keyword Anywhere” on the Advanced Search screen.
This function displays a list of search result sets from your current Barton session. To view the results of a search, select the set using the checkbox and click on “View”. To delete sets, select the sets to be deleted and click on “Delete”.
Click on “Combine results” to combine your previous searches using Boolean operators (and, or, not). Searches across the full catalog and one or more subsets of the catalog, or across multiple subsets, cannot be combined.
In keyword searches, the % and ! symbols may be used to specify proximity.
- The % symbol will look for your search terms regardless of order. For example, the title keyword search “geochemistry %5 rocks” will retrieve all records that contain these terms in the title — in any order — separated by no more than 5 words.
- The ! symbol operates similarly but also specifies that your search terms appear in the record in the same order as in the search statement. For example, the title keyword search “relativity !4 astrophysics” will retrieve records in which the term “relativity” precedes the term “astrophysics” by no more than 4 words.
Use the link “Request this item” found next to the item status on the Availability screen to:
- Place a request
- Request delivery from the Library Storage Annex
Request forms require logging into Your Account, or use links provided on the log in page if you cannot access Your Account.
Example: To find the NATO Science Series volume 544, enter “nato” as a series word and “544” as a series number in the keyword search.
Series title searching is available as a Keyword or Browse search on the Advanced Search screen. Series number can be searched as a keyword, but should be combined with other terms to narrow the search.
In keyword searches, the words AND, OR, NOT, SET are “stop words” in Barton. The system will not search on a stop word in a keyword search unless it is entered in quotation marks. Example: to do a title keyword search using the terms set theory, enter your search as “set” theory.
Note: in a browse (“begins with”) search, these words may be used. Example: a “title begins with” search on “and a river went out of Eden” gives the correct results.
Government documents may be searched by “SuDocs” (Superintendent of Documents classification) number or by Depository Item number. These searches are available on the Advanced Search screen, as Keyword and Browse searches. For a SuDocs Number search, replace a slash or colon with a space. Periods can be used. All other spaces should be retained. Example: the SuDocs number HE 20.7102:C 17/3 should be entered as HE 20.7102 C 17 3
For a Depository Document Item No. search, the number must be searched exactly as it was input.
Example: item number 0483-A-08 should be entered as 0483-A-08. Searching without the leading 0 will retrieve different results, due to a change in numbering styles for older documents. For a comprehensive search, you should search with and without a leading zero.
Example: To search for report number PIP 94-1307, enter “pip 94-1307”. To search for all reports in a series, such as AFOSR TR, enter “afosr tr”.
Technical report number searching is available as a Keyword search on the Advanced Search screen. The report number should be entered in its entirety, with any hyphens, slashes or spaces. In the “Search as” column, leave the default “Words.”
Use * for truncation. For example, “comput*” retrieves computation, computing, computer, computers, etc.
Also use * as a placeholder for a character or characters anywhere in a word. For example, “neuro*y” retrieves neurology, neurobiology, neurochemistry, etc.
Use # to find variant spellings in cases where one version of the word has one more character than another version. For example, “labo#r” retrieves labor and labour.
Use ! to find variant spellings where a single character may vary. For example, “wom!n” retrieves woman and women.
The “Your Account” feature allows you to
- renew books online
- request items stored in the Library Storage Annex and Off-Campus Collection
- view your books on loan, requests pending, fines owed.
If you have any trouble getting access to Your Account, see Accessing Your Account in Barton via Touchstone.
You can add records to Your Bookshelf from the Brief Results list or from the Full View of Record. The records will remain in Your Bookshelf through your current session only. From Your Bookshelf, you can save the records to a disk or email them. The entire contents of Your Bookshelf will be saved or emailed.
Tip: Adding records to Your Bookshelf is great when you are saving records from more than one search. However, printing Your Bookshelf will not display the library that owns the item. Email these records to yourself instead.
MIT Libraries use Ex Libris’ ALEPH 500 software for our catalog, Barton. The ALEPH software includes a Z39.50 Server that allows users to connect to Barton with any Z39.50 Client.
The Library of Congress serves as the official Z39.50 maintenance agency. There you can find documentation on the Z39.50 protocol, a Z39.50 Web gateway page and other relevant information.
Unicode support and Z39.50 Clients:
Barton records are stored in Unicode. However, most Z39.50 clients cannot display Unicode characters. For this reason, the Barton records sent to Z39.50 clients are “downgraded” so they can be displayed by non-Unicode character sets. Unicode diacritics, depending on your Z39.50 client, will either not show, or they will rendered as a * or other special character.
To eliminate excess, unreadable characters as much as possible, we suggest you set your Windows PC Z39.50 client software to use ANSEL (e.g. EndNote’s Connection Settings, Text field) or ALA (e.g. Bookwhere 2000’s Database Properties, Character Set). No changes are necessary for Web based Z39.50 clients.
For Keyword Searches:
For Browse or Phrase Searches: