Library Vocab 101: What is a Catalogue Record?

When using the McGill Libraries, it can be useful to know what the various terms on the website mean in order to become more efficient in your work. However, terms such as “Catalogue” and “Catalogue Record” may come up – but what exactly do these words mean?

What is the library Catalogue?

The library catalogue is the collection of all the materials available through the McGill Libraries, whether it be books, articles, movies, or any other resources. For a better searching experience, the Sofia Discovery Tool allows you to browse the library catalogue for materials in our collection, as well as materials in other libraries worldwide.

What is a Catalogue Record?

Now that we have a better grasp on what the catalogue is, it’s time to turn to catalogue records. When you search something in the catalogue, all the results that come up are individual (catalogue) records.

To see more information on a particular record, simply click on it. This will show you all of the metadata within that catalogue record, such as the author, date of publication, and ISBN number. Each search result is its own individual catalogue record, with information on the selected record stored within it!

If you have any questions about how to use the library or more, contact

Add Colour to Your Collection With This Book Display!

Though we are often told not to judge a book by its cover, we may have to make an exception for January’s Redpath Book Display.

This month, the main floor of Redpath received a colourful twist with our “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” book display. Featuring all types of genres from romance to mystery, fantasy and history, this display will be sure to catch your eye with all seven colours of the rainbow!

Below are a few picks from the January display. For the full collection, check out the in-person display at the McLennan-Redpath Library, or the Virtual Book Display!

Moonflower Murders by Anthony Horowitz

Farlingaye Hall is a beautiful hotel in Suffolk on the east coast of England. Unfortunately, it is also the site of the brutal murder of Frank Parris, a retired advertising executive. Stefan Codrescu, a Romanian maintenance man, is arrested after police discover blood spatter on his clothes and bed linen. He is found guilty and sentenced to eight years in prison. It appears to be an open-and-shut case, but there is more to it than meets the eye.

The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois by Honorée Fanonne Jeffers

To come to terms with her own identity, Ailey embarks on a journey through her family’s past, uncovering the shocking tales of generations of ancestors—Indigenous, Black, and white—in the deep South. In doing so Ailey must learn to embrace her full heritage, a legacy of oppression and resistance, bondage and independence, cruelty and resilience that is the story—and the song—of America itself.

A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James

James deftly chronicles the lives of a host of unforgettable characters – gunmen, drug dealers, one-night stands, CIA agents,  even ghosts – over the course of thirty years as they roam the streets of 1970s Kingston, dominate the crack houses of 1980s New York, and ultimately reemerge into the radically altered Jamaica of the 1990s. Along the way, they learn that evil does indeed cast long shadows, that justice and retribution are inextricably linked, and that no one can truly escape his fate.

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley

A series of mysterious events gets Flavia’s attention: A dead bird is found on the doormat, a postage stamp bizarrely pinned to its beak. A mysterious late-night visitor argues with her aloof father, Colonel de Luce, behind closed doors. And in the early morning Flavia finds a red-headed stranger lying in the cucumber patch and watches him take his dying breath. For Flavia, the summer begins in earnest when murder comes to Buckshaw: “I wish I could say I was afraid, but I wasn’t. Quite the contrary. This was by far the most interesting thing that had ever happened to me in my entire life.”

Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff

At age twenty-two, Lotto and Mathilde are tall, glamorous, madly in love, and destined for greatness. A decade later, their marriage is still the envy of their friends, but with an electric thrill we understand that things are even more complicated and remarkable than they have seemed. With stunning revelations and multiple threads, and in prose that is vibrantly alive and original, Groff delivers a deeply satisfying novel about love, art, creativity, and power that is unlike anything that has come before it. Profound, surprising, propulsive, and emotionally riveting, it stirs both the mind and the heart.

Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson

Shortly after Ellingham Academy opened, Albert Ellingham’s wife and daughter were kidnapped. The only real clue was a mocking riddle listing methods of murder, signed with the frightening pseudonym “Truly, Devious.” It became one of the great unsolved crimes of American history. True-crime aficionado Stevie Bell is set to begin her first year at Ellingham Academy, and she has an ambitious plan: She will solve this cold case.

Welcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink & Jeffrey Cranor

Located in a nameless desert somewhere in the great American Southwest, Night Vale is a small town where ghosts, angels, aliens, and government conspiracies are all commonplace parts of everyday life. It is here that the lives of two women, with two mysteries, will converge.

Study Breaks: Unwind With These Student Sponsored Events

As the countdown to the final exam period begins, the number of students found studying in the library is quickly increasing. Deadlines are approaching, and the stress of finals may be starting to set in amongst many.

Staying motivated, however, also requires you to take some breaks from studying from time to time. To encourage this, the McGill Library will be hosting Study Breaks. Sponsored by different clubs and associations here at McGill, Study Breaks will provide a snack and/or refreshment break for the community, allowing you to step away from your work and unwind for a bit.

Two upcoming Study Breaks will be taking place this semester, both taking place in the Innovation Commons in the McLennan-Redpath Complex.

The first, sponsored by the Chinese Students and Scholars Association, will take place from 12pm-2pm on Thursday, November 30th.

Sponsored by the Science Undergraduate Society, the second Study Break will take place from 12pm-2pm on Friday, December 1st.

Study Breaks are a great opportunity for everyone to unwind with a snack, so be sure to take full advantage of these events while you’re at the library!