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BIBLiON Search Help

1. Choose a search method:

  • Keyword Anywhere: searches the Title, Series, Name and Subject fields at the same time.

  • Name Keyword: can be a word in a personal name, a corporate name, or a government department name

  • Title or Series Keyword

  • Subject Keyword

2. Enter a search term:

  • Enter as many words as you like. Punctuation is not required.

  • BIBLiON will find only the records which contain ALL of your words.

  • BIBLiON ignores common words such as : The, A, An, In, Of, And, Le, La, Les.

  • The "*" (asterisk) is used to locate words that have a common stem. For example, typing: archiv* will match archive, archives, archival, archivaria, archivist, etc. Highly recommended.

  • Phrase searching, proximity searching, and Boolean "OR" and "NOT" combinations are unavailable at this time.

3. If you do not find what you are looking for:

  • Try fewer words or a more general term.

  • Try the library card catalogue in the Main Reading Room, especially for items published before 1990.

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BIBLiON is the Online Catalog of the Archives of Ontario Library. It supplements, but does not replace the card catalogue at this time. See the main search page for information about when to use BIBLiON, and when to use the card catalogue.

The following alphabetical list of terms provides definitions for many of the options, commands, and expressions used in BIBLiON.

Click on the appropriate letter below to scroll quickly to terms starting with:


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Boolean Operators

In this version of BIBLiON, the boolean operator "AND" is automatically used between words. This means that your search results will contain all of your search terms. There are no other boolean operators available at this time. Other search options will be available in a future upgrade.

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Call Number

A code used to identify each item in the collection. It is also called a Reference Code. Usually alphanumeric, the call number indicates where on the shelves an item can be found.

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Circ Status

A field in the record indicating the current situation of items in the collection. At present this field does not change status. It will be used in the future when an automated request and circulation system is implemented. OnShelf: At the present time this circ status does not change. All items will say OnShelf if they are normally available to be retrieved.

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Circ Type

A field in the record which indicates how an item may be circulated. (e.g. Circ, Non-Circ, Self-Serve)

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Govt Doc

A short form for an Ontario Government document or publication.

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Connects you to online help.

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International Standard Book Number. A unique identification number that indicates publisher and country of publication.

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International Standard Serial Number. A unique number given to each serial (e.g., journal, magazine, newspaper).

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Interlibrary Loan

Due to the rare and historic nature of most items, the Library cannot len published or printed material by inter-library loan. Many of these materials are also available in major research libraries in Ontario and Canada. It may be convenient to check with a local source before using the Archives of Ontario. Consult the Archives' Microfilm Interloan Catalogue to see what microfilm of archival records is available through interlibrary loan.

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Keyword Anywhere

This search option searches the Title, Series, Name and Subject fields at the same time.

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Library Material vs. Archival Records

Library materials are published or printed items such as books, pamphlets, periodicals, or Ontario government publications.

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The place where a Library item is kept. When requesting an item for retrieval, it is helpful to include the location on the request slip. Click here to see more information on how to fill out a Request Slip. [hyperlink]

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A Circ Type indicating that staff have conducted a final search for the item and cannot find it. A decision will be made on whether to replace the item.

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See Circ Status.

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A display that contains details about a book, periodical, pamphlet or government publication. Details generally include: title, author, publisher, publication date, physical details, ISSN/ISBN, subject headings, call number location, circulation type & status, and information on how to place a request for the item.

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Reference Code

See Call Number.

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Request Slip

A request slip is a form that needs to be filled out when you want to have an item retrieved. Click here to learn how to fill out a request slip. [hyperlink]

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A publication or work issued in successive parts, often at regular intervals. Examples include: periodicals, journals, magazines, newspapers, reports, proceedings, transactions, annuals, bulletins, newsletters and papers.

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Series (monograph series)

Are separate, independent works issued from time to time, under a common title. For example, the series New Canadian Library includes the works: Good Bones by Margaret Atwood published in 1997; Mad Shadows by Marie-Claire Blais, published in 1990; and Such Is My Beloved by Morley Callaghan, published in 1957.

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This Circ Type means that an item is available on the open shelves or in microfilm cabinets in either the Main Reading Room or the Special Collections Reading Room. A Request Slip does not need to be filled out. Horizontal line

Stop Words

BIBLiON ignores certain common words such as: The, A, An, In, Of, And, Le, La, Les.

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Truncation Symbol

The "*" (asterisk) is used to locate words that have a common stem. For example, typing: archiv* will match archive, archives, archival, archivaria, archivist, etc. There is no left truncation.

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How to Order a Library Item

A note to our internet users:

Library items are not available by Inter-Library Loan, due to the fragile or rare nature of much of the collection. If you are unable to visit the Archives of Ontario in person, please try the following:
  1. A few heavily-used library items are available for loan on microfilm. Check the catalogue.
  2. Take the details of the item that interests you to the Inter-Library Loan Department of your nearest large public or academic library. They may be able to locate a copy.
  3. Take down all the details of the item that interests you, and contact the Archives with a photocopy request. Copyright restrictions may limit how much of an item we can copy for you.

First, check the CIRC TYPE.


  • the CIRC TYPE is "Self-Serve". Instead, check the "Location" and retrieve the material yourself. It may be on the Reference shelves in the Main Reading Room, or it may be in the microfilm cabinets.

  • the CIRC TYPE is "Non Circ." Sorry, this material is not available in the Reading Room.

For items with a CIRC TYPE starting with "Circ", please fill out a Records and Papers Request Slip for each item and submit it at the Circulation Desk in the Main Reading Room. Library items circulate only to the Main Reading Room.

[sample request slip]

    #1. Write your name here. If you are ordering after hours, please add a telephone number where we can contact you during the day.

    #2. Put your Archives of Ontario registration number here.

    #3. If you have a locker, put the locker number here.

    #4. Put the call number and location of the item here.

      Examples of call numbers:
      GOVT DOC.

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      Examples of locations:
      Library stacks (or "stacks" for short)

    #5: Put the title of the item here. If you are ordering a periodical, or a government publication, please be sure to give full information about the issue &/or date. Incomplete information will slow down the retrieval of your item.

    Examples of incomplete titles: Examples of complete titles:
    Annual report. Dept. of Education Annual Report, 1883.
    Ontario History, pp. 47-93. Ontario History, vol. 73, no. 1, March 1981

Q: I found a reference to an article in a periodical. Should I put the title of the article or the title of the journal on the slip?

A: Please put the title of the periodical, along with all the information about issue &/or date. Similarly, if you have found a reference to a chapter in a book, please write down the name of the book, not the name of the chapter.

The rest of the request slip does not pertain to library materials, and can be ignored.