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Dudley Knox Library
411 Dyer Road
Monterey, CA 93943
(831) 656-2947
DSN: 756-2947
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Frequently Asked Questions about BOSUN

How do I find BOSUN and start using it?

BOSUN, the Library's online catalog, lists the publications (books, theses, journal titles, etc.) and multimedia materials available in the Dudley Knox collections. It also provides links to some of the Library's electronic resources (electronic journals, databases indexing journal literature, etc.). BOSUN is accessible from any computer that has Web access. The link can be found on the Library's home page. It is not necessary to log in in order to search BOSUN. Note that BOSUN is not case sensitive.

The default search in BOSUN is the GENERAL search, which can be used to look for authors, titles, subjects, or keywords. A pull-down menu allows you to select a specific field (author, title, periodical title, etc.) to search, or you can opt for the more flexible "Power Search" by clicking on the "Power Search" link. Other useful features that can make your search more precise are "Thesis Search," "Reserve Desk" (to look for class materials your professors may have had held at the Circulation Desk as class readings), and "Digital Archives" (materials that have been digitally scanned and stored on the Library’s server).

Type in your search terms and click on "Search."

If there are multiple items that meet your search criteria, your results list will look something like this. Note that some titles are available full-text, electronically; these will have the "URL" designation in the far right corner. Click "Details" to find out more information about each entry, including whether it is currently available. From that point, you can "Mark" titles gathered into list form for printing or emailing by placing checkmarks next to individual entries. To get a list of only the items you've marked, click on the "Kept" button near the top. You will then be able to print out, download, or e-mail a list of materials for future use.

This list of "Marked" and "Kept" items can now be printed, downloaded, or e-mailed. The results will include the full bibliographic records, which include not only what you see below, but also complete citations, call numbers and location codes, subject headings, circulation status, and other useful information. See the "Full Details" screen shot below for further explanation.

Marked and Kept Items Ready for Printing, Downloading, or E-mailing:

Once you find an item you want, you may want to click on "Details." This will tell you several things:

  1. How many copies does the Library own?

  2. Is the item available for check out, and if so, in which collection (location of the library) is it?  See a list of library locations.  

  3. What is the call number (a designation, usually an alpha-numeric code, telling you where to find it)?

Details Screen.

How do I limit a BOSUN search by type of source/type of material, date, etc?

One of the trickiest aspects of database searching, including searching BOSUN, is gleaning "the wheat from the chaff." BOSUN allows you to limit your results in several ways. If you know you're going to have a lot of results, you probably want to start out with the "Power Search." The "Power Search" provides you with pull-down menus that allow you to limit your search by language, type of publication (book, journal, thesis, etc.), date, etc.

If you've already done a "General Search" and wish to weed out undesirable results, scroll down to the bottom of your results list to the "Search Again" section, where you can reduce the number of "hits" in a similar manner.  Use the pull down menus to make your search more precise, and your results more useful.


Reviewing Your Library Account, Renewing Materials, and Changing Your PIN Number

The "My Account" button (on the gray toolbar at the top and bottom of the screen) can be used to get a list of items you currently have on loan and to renew items. After clicking on "My Account" you will see a screen something like this:

After selecting one of the options (Review, PIN Change, etc.) you will see a login screen something like the one below:

Your user ID is the barcode from your Library card (typed in without spaces). You must type this, or, alternatively, your Alternate ID (in all CAPS), which usually corresponds to your NPS User Name. You must then type the four-digit PIN.  Resident students will find that number hand-written on your blue Library card. Distance students will receive their PIN along with their other Library account information via e-mail.  (You can change your PIN number if you choose to do so.) If you have questions about this, please contact the Circulation Desk at (831) 656-2947 or

Additional BOSUN search techniques

Here are some additional techniques to help you refine your BOSUN search:
Use the $ after a word "stem" to search for all words beginning with that stem. For example, terror$ will retrieve all BOSUN records containing the words terror, terrorize, terrorist, terrorism, etc.

Use quotes around a multiple word phrase to search for that exact phrase. For example, searching for "military transformation" searches for that exact phrase, while in BOSUN, searching for military transformation (without the single quotes around the term) searches for the word military and the word transformation, but not necessarily next to each other.

Use parentheses and the Boolean operators AND, OR. and NOT. See the Library Orientation section on "Finding the Information You Need" to learn more about how to use Boolean operators.  Another way to combine tems is to use the pull down menus in a "Power Search".

Once I've found a print journal title in BOSUN, how can I tell if the Library has the volume/issue/date that I need?

Finding out whether or not the Library subscribes to a particular journal is fairly straightforward. Figuring out the exact dates of the library's subscription and what issues may be missing is less obvious.

Let's take this partial screen shot of the library's BOSUN record for the journal Military Review as an example.

The link for electronic access information is next to the words: A Look Inside.   

We’re concerned here with the information at the center of the record for the physical print HOLDINGS.  Which issues the library "holds" or owns, is the important information.

The most recent year available in print format is 2006.  The the Library has v. 82, no. 1 (2002:Jan/Feb) – v. 86, no. 3 (2006: May/June). As the Library receives more recent issues, the information will be updated on this record..

The "textual holdings" section can be confusing. A comma indicates a missing issue or issues. So, for example, from vol. 41 – vol. 52, the Library has a complete run (there are no missing issues). After vol. 52 there is a gap (missing issues) until vol. 53, no. 11. Then there is another gap (missing issues) until vol. 54. Then there is a complete run (no missing issues) until vol. 58, no. 1.

Location: the journal’s CALL NUMBER in the periodicals section (on the library's first floor) is M82.  See a map of the first floor.

How do I learn more about using BOSUN?

BOSUN has a variety of contextual HELP screens available -- just click on the navy blue "Help" button to access them. Please note that these help screens were created by the software developer, so rather than referring to the database as "BOSUN" (Knox Library's online catalog), they often refer to it as "iBistro" or "iLink."  For all practical purposes, BOSUN, iBistro and iLink can be thought of as one and the same.  Remember, too, you can Ask A Librarian from Dudley Knox Library for help by clicking the colorful Ask A Librarian Live button during our open hours. Other ways to reach us.

Revised: 07/12/2006

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All information contained herein has been approved for release by the NPS Public Affairs Officer.
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