Since the OPAC transitioned from a physical card catalog to an electronic online system many of the skills necessary to use the catalog effectively seem to have disappeared with the cards. It may help to know that the OPAC (either Aquabrowser or Voyager) is essentially an index to the law library collection. Although it may seem like a keyword system like Google, the OPAC uses a special taxonomy and vocabulary.
A taxonomy is a classification system.
The taxonomy used is the Library of Congress Classification System. Within this system, all of the library's materials whether physical or virtual are assigned one or more LC Subject Headings. Subject headings keep similar items next to one another in a collection. Because of this system, the Serendipity Factor plays a large role when you browse the stacks looking for books on a particular topic or subject.
As part of the University of Hawai‘i Libraries, the Law Library's catalog is the same as the University's: Voyager. Primo is a discovery layer for the Library's holdings to make searching the catalog more like a Google search.
Use a broad search, then narrow by using clicking on a facet on the left-hand side.
After you check for the availability of an item, you can click on the link on the right. The link takes you to a login screen. Use your UH login here. Hawai‘i Voyager allows you to request books, articles, and AV materials through different kinds of forms based on your campus affiliation and patron type (student, faculty, staff, etc.). When you click "Get this item," you will see a list of the forms that are available for you.
Whether searching a proprietary database or the OPAC, you will want to look for features that are common in online database systems to aid the researcher.
- Truncation Character - retrieve house, housing, housed by placing a truncation character after the common letters. In Voyager, use a ?. Thus, hous? retrieves all forms of the word in Voyager.
- Phrase Search - although most systems seem to use quotation marks " " around words as a phrase search, not all do. Voyager does.
- Boolean Operators (Or, And, Not) - not all systems recognize Boolean operators; some only recognize them when they are in CAPITAL LETTERS. Voyager recognizes Boolean operators and they can be in any case.
More information can be found in the Help section of Voyager.
Want a book from another UH library? Locate the book in Voyager. Click on "Get This Item" link on the right. The link takes you to a login screen. Use your UH login here. Hawai‘i Voyager allows you to request books, articles, and AV materials through different kinds of forms based on your campus affiliation and patron type (student, faculty, staff, etc.). When you click "Get this item," you will see a list of the forms that are available for you. If the item is checked out you may be able to recall it. If the item is in another UH Library, you can have it delivered to the UH Law Library and check it out there.
Very convenient option for those who use smart phones.
Email the bibliographic record to yourself.
Export the bibliographic record in several formats including EndNote. All of the Voyager records are recognized by Zotero. Zotero is a research management tool that is free a Mozilla (Firefox) plug-in. A Guide is available to get you started using Zotero for your research.