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Mathematics: Graduate Student Library Orientation: Finding Books

This guide is a companion to the Graduate Student Library Orientation (GSLO) presentation, geared to teaching grad students the information literacy skills necessary to performing graduate-level research.

Introduction to the Catalog (Voyager)

The University of Hawaii's library catalog is called Voyager and it is a database of the holdings (including electronic resources) from the different libraries in the UH system.  You can access it from the UHM library website at

Screenshot of library website

You can search the catalog in a few different ways:

  • Basic Searching - for basic searching (of course!)
  • Advanced Searching - for narrowing down results
  • Subject Searching - for getting an idea of what is available in the library by browsing the items in that category

Three Ways to Search Voyager

The Basic Search allows you to search in some common fields like title or the author's name, and allows you to filter some results using the Quick Limits. 

The Basic search screen

Here are a few special characters that you can use to search (they work in Advanced and Subject searching, too):

  • Surround search terms with quotation marks ( " ) to search for them as a phrase
  • Question marks ( ? ) act as wildcards, so searching for algebra? will return algebra, algebras, algebraic, etc.
  • Percent symbols ( % ) act as single wildcards, so searching for algebra% will return algebras but NOT algebraic.

You can find out more about Basic Search and how it interprets your input here.

For more control over your search results, use Advanced Search.

Advanced searching allows you to be more selective about your results.

Screenshot of the Advanced tab on the Basic Search screen

For example, you can limit your results to journals available to UHM users in Russian that are available online:

Screenshot of Advanced Search limits

Searching by subject allows you to browse the items in the library that are cataloged in a particular subject.

To get to the Subject Search, click on the Subject tab on the Voyager search screen:

The Subject tab


For example, let's see what is available in the library's holdings about number theory.  We put the search terms in quotes because we want to search "number theory" as a phrase, rather than as two separate concepts:

Subject searching


By scrolling through the results, we can see that the library has material on a variety of aspects of number theory:

Some search results for "number theory"


But we want an overview of the materials that are available.  Scrolling through the search results, we find a promising subject listing.  It contains 433 titles and many narrower (more specific) terms.  You can click on the subject heading to see all 433 titles, or you can click on a narrower term if you are only interested in that particular aspect of number theory.

Search results for "number theory"

Retrieving the item(s)

Now that you've located an item in Voyager, it's time to retrieve it.  The item's record gives you specific information about the item's status and location. (Click image for bigger version.)

Example of Voyager record

Some Common Locations You May Encounter

UH Manoa: Hamilton 2nd/3rd/4th floor items can be found in the main building of Hamilton Library.

UH Manoa: Hamilton Addition 1st/2nd/3rd/4th floor items can be found in the addition of Hamilton Library.

UH Manoa: Hamilton Reference-Library Use Only items can be found in the main building of Hamilton Library on the 1st floor in the Reference section.

UH Manoa: Sinclair Main items can be found at Sinclair Library and are usually physical copies of older journals.

Maps of Hamilton Library

Some items are available digitally.  If so, you can retrieve the item by clicking on the appropriate link.  For example, this title is an e-book.  Clicking the link for UH Manoa users will take you to the e-book:

Example of e-book record