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Introducing first-year students to UCT Libraries' online catalogue, ALEPH.

Finding books using the BROWSE function

  • When  to use BROWSE and when to use SEARCH to find books?


  • Use BROWSE when you know the title or the author's name.
  • So in this example ...
  • You want to find the book:  "The Universe in a nutshell" by Stephen Hawking.
  •  First go to the Libraries' home page and in the Search & Find menu, click on Catalogue (ALEPH). 

  • ALEPH will open at the Basic Search screen.  Click on Browse.
  • The Browse screen will open up.  Browse lets you look through alphabetical lists (indexes) and choose what you need from the list.
  • Clicking on the dropdown menu will open the list of the indexes available to you:
  • Indexes you can look at include Authors, Titles, Subjects, Journal Titles, etc.  We are looking for a specific title ("The universe in a nutshell"), so select Title from the dropdown menu.  Then type the first few words of the title in the input  box and then click on Go:
  • Note that the book's title is "The universe in a nutshell" but ALEPH ignores articles at the beginning of a title ... so always leave out The, A, or An at the beginning of a title and start typing from the next word. 

  • ALEPH will open an alphabetical list of titles for you to choose from.  Find the title you want and click on it.
  • The full record for the book will be displayed.  You can now see that there is a copy of this book in the Main Library, and it is shelved at 523.1 HAWK (its Shelf number).

Browsing by Subject

  • You can also use Browse to find books on a specific SUBJECT.  


  • Go to the Browse screen, and click on Subject in the drop-down list of indexes to get into ALEPH's Subject index.  Then type in the subject you want to read about.


  • In this example we want to find books about sports injuries.

  Type in your subject:  sports injuries and click on Go.


  • This will open the Subject Index:


  • The Subject index shows that we have 17 general books on sports injuries and a number on specific aspects of sports injuries (e.g. Sports injuries--Exercise therapy).  Click on Sports injuries to see the 17 books:

Browsing by Author

  • You can also use Browse to find books by a specific author.   Say you want to find out if the Library has any books by Nelson Mandela.   This time, choose Author in the dropdown list of indexes and type in the name, starting with the surname:


  • The Libraries have more than 50 books by Nelson Mandela.  Click on his name to see the brief records: