FAQ concerning the Online Catalogue

E-Learning Offer

Using the functions of the Online Catalogue of the University Library of Humboldt-Universität.

Checking the loan period of your library materials and making requests and reservations via your online user account.

When and how must I register in the Online Catalogue?

Registration in the Online Catalogue is necessary only to make a reservation for a book, or to order a book from closed stacks. You also need a personal registration in order to get to your user account.

Humboldt students use their student ID card as library card. All other users will be given a special library card for all Humboldt libraries when they register at one of them. When registering in the Online Catalogue, you should use the barcode of your library card (HUHS... or HUUB...) as your user ID and your postcode in Germany as your password. Please change your password after you have registered for the first time via your user account.

How do I change my password?

Your postcode in Germany is the default password. Log in to the Online Catalogue. By clicking on "Passwort"/"password" in the user account you can change the password.

Humboldt Students

You have been given an account by the Computer and Media Service (CMS), for which you had to give a password. You should use the same password for the Online Catalogue of the University Library.

External Users

Please change the password in your user account in accordance with the regulations given on the page. Use this password when you apply for an CMS password, which will then enable you to access the internet and our electronic resources from Humboldt library computers.

Note: You need your library password to use the issue machine at the Library.

Why am I supposed to give my e-mail address when I register?

Once you have given us your e-mail address, all library notifications (except for the third overdue reminder) will be e-mailed to you. Besides, we shall be able to send you automatic reminder e-mails a few days before your books are due back. There will, however, be no remission of overdue charges even if the user claims not to have received reminder e-mails.

Note: In the case of short-term loans no reminder e-mails are sent. You may enter or change your e-mail address at any time through your user account in the Online Catalogue.

Which materials are included in the Online Catalogue?

All books purchased by the Central Library (Zentralbibliothek; ZB) since 1975 are included, i.e.

  • books purchased by the Central Library before 1975 are gradually being included as well, which is why you should always start your search in the Online Catalogue;
  • theses and dissertations acquired since 1975;
  • textbook collections at the Central Library, the Science Branch Library (Zweigbibliothek Naturwissenschaften) and the Campus Nord Library;
  • collections of journals and periodicals kept at the Central Library and the branch libraries;
  • computerized collections of the branch libraries.

How do I find out which electronic resources are available at the Library?

  • E-books: Single titles are gradually entered into the Online Catalogue. You will get to the item record display (Titelvollanzeige) by clicking on the relevant link in the column "Exemplare" (copies). If you do not find the book you want in the Online Catalogue, further titles may be available as publisher packages. You will find these at E-Books.
  • E-journals: You will find out which electronic journals and periodicals are available at the University Library by clicking at Elektronische Zeitschriftenbibliothek (Electronic Journals Library).
  • Databases: Please use the DBIS Database Information System to find information about the databases available at the University Library.

How do I order books from the Online Catalogue?

In the Online Catalogue you can see whether the book you want is freely accessible or not. Now click on "Alle Exemplare" (all copies) in the Titelvollanzeige, and then in the "Standort" (location) column you will see where exactly it is at the Library.

By selecting the link “Bestellen/Vormerken“you can make a reservation for books in closed stacks or books out on loan. After making a reservation you can see in your user account when and for how long the books can be borrowed.

Books in the open access section cannot be ordered online. They are available directly from the shelves.

How do I order Central Library books not listed in the Online Catalogue?

Central Library books that are not yet listed in the Online Catalogue may be kept in the open access section or in closed stacks. The call number (Signatur) of a book indicates its location. You are, therefore, advised to search initially for the call number in the card or the microfiche catalogues.  Once you know the call number, the staff of the General Enquiry Service (Allgemeine Auskunft) can tell you by its call number where to find the book. Books from closed stacks must be ordered by clicking on 'Altbestand' in the Online Catalogue, which appears at the top of the Catalogue menu. Then, the form displayed must be completed. Entries for author, title, year and call number are of particular significance.

Books from older collections at one of the branches of the Library that are not freely accessible must usually be borrowed in the traditional manner by filling in an order form. Please enquire at the appropriate library.

How do I order journals ?

Journals kept in closed stacks can be ordered by completing a loan form.

Please note that such orders will not be visible in your user account.

When and how long will the resources I ordered be ready for me to pick up?

Information about when to expect resources from closed stacks ordered or reserved for pick-up and how long they will be held ready at the various university libraries is available from the homepage of the Humboldt University Library. Use the link "Usemodality about stored supplies".
After putting in a request you can see in your user account when and for how long the resource/resources is/are ready for you to pick up.

How can I make a reservation for a book out on loan?

If in the Titelvollanzeige it says "ausgeliehen bis" the due return date is given, or "bereitgestellt", the item you wish to borrow is out on loan or reserved for somebody else, respectively. By selecting the link "Bestellen/Vormerken", you can make a reservation for it. If it has already been reserved for somebody else, your request will be placed in the queue. It can be seen from the "ausgeliehen bis" (out on loan until) column how many reservations for it were made before yours. When it is available for you to pick up you will be notified by e-mail.

How can I extend the loan period for borrowed items?

Loan period extensions can be made online, by fax or by mail.
Applying for an extension online is the easiest way: After logging in to the Online Catalogue, you can access your personal account. Just click on   "Ausleihen" in your account. You can request an extension for each individual item by clicking on the appropriate number in the first column, or for all borrowed items simultaneously by clicking on "Alle verlängern". You may get a list of those items for which the loan period cannot be extended because they were requested by somebody else or because you have had them for the maximum period, which is 56 days for all collections of the Central Library (except textbooks) and 84 days at the branches and for the textbook collection of the Central Library.
Note: At the Central Library loan periods of books (except textbooks) will be extended automatically three times if nobody else has made a reservation.

How do I find the call number on the item record display?

in the item record display (Titelvollanzeige) there is the link "Alle Exemplare" (all copies) at the top in the very first row. Click on it to get detailed information about the location and the call number of a resource. If it consists of several volumes, you will find the appropriate link to the individual volumes at the lower end of the item record display. By clicking on the desired volume, you will find the full item record via the link "Alle Exemplare".

How can I search by subject in the Online Catalogue?

1. Classification system search
Since 1992 the holdings of the University Library (UB) have been classified according to the Regensburger Verbundklassifikation (RVK). Items which were assigned RVK notations, i.e. a combination of letters and numbers, can be searched systematically in the Online Catalogue.
Click on "Systematische Suche", at the top of the menu to start the search within the RKV classification system. There are two approaches to searching literature on a certain subject: a simple search and a search using the RVK hierarchy.

In a simple search just enter a relevant term, e.g. "drug abuse". As a result a number of notations will be shown. By clicking on the number in the first column the item record display of the notation will be shown. The number in the line named “Verknüpfte Titel“ (related titles) indicates how many titles in the Online Catalogue were assigned this notation and are, therefore, likely to be relevant for your subject. The individual titles are shown if you click on the number.
If you already know a notation, e.g. MS 6410, you can search for it directly. In this case all titles indexed by the notation will be shown.

By making use of the "system tree chart" (in the separate case on the left of the screen) you can gradually get nearer to the literature of your subject area.
The plus sign in front of a concept indicates that there are further subordinate concepts in the structure. If there are no further subordinate concepts, you just click on one concept.
Here is an example:  philosophy -> history of philosophy ->  regional history of occidental philosophy over various epochs -> Eastern Europe
On the right-hand side of the screen the number of titles retrieved in the systematic search is shown.  By clicking on the number “Verknüpfte Titel“ (related titles) or “Top Down“ you will be given information on the individual parts.

2. Search by headings (Schlagwortsuche)
A relatively small portion of resources in the Online Catalogue was and is being given headings (Schlagworte) according to a variety of rules. A heading is meant to describe the content of a library item. And unlike the key term (Stichwort), the heading does not usually appear in the title of a resource. By entering key terms you can find further titles related to your subject which you may not have found in a RVK (see above) search.
Searching by headings should be considered a supplementary strategy because you may not have retrieved in this way all the relevant literature which is available at the Library.

What type of technical equipment is required for using the Online Catalogue?

Using the Online Catalogue requires a browser including active JavaScript support. Current versions of browsers like Firefox, Internet Explorer, Opera and Safari as well as many others satisfy this requirement.
The function "Regalstandort anzeigen" (show shelf) requires Flash Player, which is to be installed as plugin in the browser. Flash Player is available from: http://get.adobe.com/de/flashplayer/.
In case of technical problems arising from the use of the Online Catalogue, please write an e-mail to the UB computer experts: aleph@ub.hu-berlin.de.

Why is the loan period for some borrowed books longer than the prescribed maximum?

There are special and extended loan periods exceeding the normal maximum for resources borrowed by certain user groups (e.g. Humboldt professorial staff).

How to search in the Online Catalogue by means of call numbers?

If you search for further information in the Online Catalogue by means of call numbers, you must select the search category "Signatur" (call number) instead of "Alle Felder" (all fields).  However, we recommend the use of "index" search (Index-Suche), because any minor inaccuracy may produce a false result or no result at all.

How many items may I borrow?

Currently, you may borrow a maximum of 30 items from the Central Library and a maximum of 50 from the branch libraries.

Using the Catalogue, I am asked for a "certificate". What is that?

You can accept the certificate without any risk. Sometimes it is even necessary to click twice on “OK/Akzeptieren“ (ok/accepted), once for the certificate and another time for the Certification Office. On the internet pages of the Computer and Media Service (CMS) there is more detailed information on how to signal acceptance for good . Click on http://www.cms.hu-berlin.de/dl/zertifizierung. If you have accepted the certificate for good, you will not be asked again to accept it.
At “Wurzelzertifikate und Sperrlisten für die Installation in Ihren Browsern und/oder Mailclient“ you will find all the necessary information.

What do the concepts "in Erwerbung", "in Bearbeitung", "storniert" mean?

"in Erwerbung": The resource has been ordered by the Library, but it has not yet received it.
"in Bearbeitung": The resource has been received but it has not yet been indexed and placed properly. If you urgently need a resource of the Central Library marked "in Bearbeitung" you should fill in on online form (to be found on the homepage at “Mehr Dienstleistungen - Ordering resources "being processed") and ask for preferential processing of it and as soon as it is ready for pick up you will be notified by email. 

"storniert": It means that the Library's order or purchase was cancelled. This happens quite often with books that had been advertised by publishers but whose publication was cancelled later on.

What do the terms "übergeordnet" and "untergeordnet" mean?

If a resource consists of several volumes the linkuntergeordnet“, i.e. "subordinate", "more specific",  leads you to the individual volumes. Similarly, the linkübergeordnet“, i.e. "superordinate", "more general", leads you from a particular volume of a multi-volume resource to the overall title it belongs to.

What does "SFX" mean?

By clicking on the “SFX“-Button, which is shown when you have a hit in the Online Catalogue, you can see further service offers. You may, for example, save your title details in a way that makes them suitable for inclusion in your literature management programme, or you will be enabled to use the same terms in a search in other catalogues or databases.

Any more problems?

If you have any other questions concerning the use of the Online Catalogue, please phone the General information Service of the Central Library (2093 99370) during the opening hours (Mo to Fr  9am – 7pm and Sa 10am – 6pm). We shall be pleased to answer. For technical questions concerning the Online Catalogue, please send an email to: aleph@ub.hu-berlin.de .
Questions concerning a branch library will gladly be answered by the library staff. Telephone numbers and opening hours are available from the homepage of the University Library (UB).