Skip Navigation Bar
NLM logo

LocatorPlus Catalog Help


Return to the LocatorPlus Catalog



The LocatorPlus Catalog provides access to NLM bibliographic data for over 1.4 million journals, books, audiovisuals, computer software, electronic resources, and other materials. LocatorPlus Catalog contains information on NLM’s holdings, circulation status, and access to the records in MARC format. NLM’s new catalog is retaining the LocatorPlus name although the underlying technology has changed and is now powered by Ex Libris’ Primo VE.

Please note that the new LocatorPlus Catalog does not contain all of the previous functions of the old catalog. Searching the authority files is no longer available, but all MeSH subjects are available via the MeSH Browser. The Library of Congress Name Authority file contains 99% of the personal and corporate names and uniform titles used by NLM, so NLM access points can be found in OCLC’s authority file or via the Library of Congress Authorities or Library of Congress Names service.

Library Cards

Physical library cards are no longer used at NLM. Old cards do not work in the new LocatorPlus Catalog and may be discarded/destroyed.

Signing In

The LocatorPlus software changed in June 2021. Accounts established prior to June 2021 no longer work in the new software. Everyone should re-register. Physical NLM library cards do not work in the new system. Cards will not be issued for new accounts.

Benefits of Signing In

Signing In gives users access to special features, such as:

  • Create a favorites list
  • Export citations
  • Save search queries
  • View search history

To Sign In/Create a User Account

Click on the Sign in button in the upper righthand corner on the blue ribbon.

Sign In button

A screen with several log in options will appear:

Login Options

NIH federal staff and contractors should use the smart card login or PIV card exemption option, as applicable. Other users should log in with one of the other options, such as Research Organization,, HHS AMS, etc.

If none of the other sign in options apply to you, you must use the option.

Use the Same Login Method Each Time You Sign In

Each time you log into your LocatorPlus Catalog account, you should use the same login method and credentials, otherwise you will create an additional user account. Multiple accounts cannot be synced and may cause confusion and difficulties in accessing saved searches, tracking requested materials, etc.

Per NLM policy, users may only request library materials on a single account. Requests made from multiple accounts will be denied.


For more information about your user account, please see the My Account section.

For additional information

If you have questions about your account, please contact the NLM Customer Service.

Sign in to the LocatorPlus Catalog

Back to top


Navigating the Home Page

The top links menu along the header of the home page provide shortcuts to commonly used NLM resources. The ellipsis will display all the links in an overlay to choose from if they are not shown in the current view.

Menu Items List

  • New Search -- Clears any existing search results and text and begins a new basic search.
  • Journal Search -- Searches for journals by title or ISSN.
  • Browse Search -- Browse for authors, titles, subjects, series, or NLM call numbers.
  • Citation Linker -- Finds citations for articles, books, and journals.
  • ILL Information -- Information about Interlibrary loan at NLM.
  • Copyright -- Information about copyright restrictions on NLM resources.
  • Library Information -- Information about visiting NLM and general policies.
  • Other Databases -- Licensed database and resources available onsite at NLM.

QR code button

The QR code functionality allows users to use their phone to scan the code and provide a link to whatever page is currently active. This is available on any page within the catalog.

Go to search button   Favorites button

The Go to search and Go to favorites buttons will change depending on whether the user is searching or viewing their favorites. You must be signed in order to access “Favorites.” More information on Favorites is located here: Favorites

Sign in and Menu options

Sign in will allow you to choose how you want to sign in and enter your credentials.

Signing in to the LocatorPlus Catalog

The Menu list allows users to view their account details, go to their favorites, or view their search history. The Favorites section is also located in this menu.

Back to top


Basic Search

Basic Search

You can search very easily in the LocatorPlus Catalog. Just type one or more words that you are looking for and click the Search button. Search button

You can also use the Search by Voice function to speak your search. Search by voice

If you enter multiple words, the LocatorPlus Catalog will return results that contain all the specified terms.

Once you are familiar with the basic LocatorPlus Catalog search, you can explore the additional features available in the Refine your results panel and Advanced Search options to make your searches more precise and to get more useful results.

You can search for ISBNs and ISSNs with or without hyphens, but if you are not getting expected results with hyphens, try your search again without hyphens.

Search Operators

You can do more than just a basic search with the Search panel by placing the following operators between words or phrases: ANDOR, and NOT. Searches with multiple operators are processed in the following order, from left to right:

  1. ( ) – Parentheses allow you to group search terms and alter the order of precedence.
  2. AND and NOT – left-to-right precedence is used in case of multiple operators.
  3. OR – left-to-right precedence is used in case of multiple operators.

Although operators provide greater control over the search, the full search string is not treated as a phrase. For example, the following queries are treated differently even though they appear to be almost identical:

  • Public health ethics – LocatorPlus Catalog treats the entire query as a phrase and returns results in which all of the words may be closer together.
  • Public health AND ethics – LocatorPlus Catalog treats public health and ethics as separate phrases and returns results in which both phrases may not be as close together.

LocatorPlus Catalog assumes that you are searching for all the words unless you type OR or NOT between words and phrases.

Searches are not case-sensitive.

To become familiar with the operators and get the best results from your searches, refer to the following sections:

Searching For a Phrase

To search for an exact phrase, type quotation marks around the phrase. You can combine both words and phrases in your search.

  • If you do not enclose the phrase with quotation marks, the system will find items that contain the individual words in the phrase, regardless of whether these words are located next to each other in the order specified.
  • If a comma is used to separate words in a list, the comma must be followed by a space. Otherwise, the system will consider the comma to be part of the word and return fewer results than expected.

For example, to search for home healthcare as one term, type the following in the search box:

Searching for a phrase

Searching For Any Specified Words or Phrases

You can search for items that contain at least one of the words or phrases you type in the Search box. To do so, type OR between the words or phrases.

If you search for words or phrases without specifying OR or NOT, LocatorPlus Catalog assumes that you are searching for all the specified words or phrases.

For example, to search for items with the word RN or the word nurse, type the following in the search box:

Searching for any specified words or phrases

To use Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT) within search phrases, you must enter them in uppercase letters. Otherwise, LocatorPlus Catalog removes them and performs a basic search that includes all search phrases.

Excluding Words or Phrases

You can exclude items that contain specific words or phrases. To do so, type NOT and then type the word or phrase to exclude.

If you search for words or phrases without specifying OR or NOT, LocatorPlus Catalog assumes that you are searching for all of the specified words or phrases.

For example, to search for items with the word RN and exclude any of these items with the word nurse, type the following in the search box:

Excluding words or phrases

If parentheses are not used for a query that contains multiple operators, it is recommended that you use the NOT operator last to ensure that results are excluded from the entire query. For example: public AND medicine NOT community. If it is necessary to place the NOT operator elsewhere, make sure that you enclose the operation with parentheses. For example: (public NOT medicine) OR community.

Searching Using Wildcard Characters

You can include the following wildcard characters in your searches:

  • ? – enter a question mark to perform a single character wildcard search. For example, type wom?n to search for records that contain the strings womanwomen, and so forth.
  • * – enter an asterisk to perform a multiple character wildcard search. For example, type cultur* to search for records that contain strings, such as culturecultural, and culturally.

Grouping Terms Within a Query

You can use parentheses to group terms to clarify the order of multiple operators specified in a query.

Example 1: The following query searches for records that contain Darwin and either notes or letters:

Grouping terms

When using more than one operator, it is strongly recommended to use parentheses to clarify precedence. For example, if no parentheses are specified in the above query, LocatorPlus Catalog will apply the precedence rules and instead group the words Darwin and notes as follows:

Grouping terms


Selecting Your Search Scope

The search scope defines where the system should perform the search. There are three scopes available:

  1. Library Catalog + Digital Collections. This encompasses the entire NLM collection including NLM Digital Collections. Some resources have records in both the Library Catalog and the Digital Collections. The source of the record is identified in the search results.
  2. Digital Collections. This scope only searches items in NLM Digital Collections, the National Library of Medicine's free online repository of biomedical resources including books, manuscripts, still images, videos, and maps.
  3. Library Catalog. This scope excludes Digital Collections records.

Users can change the scope of a basic search by selecting a search scope from the drop-down list as shown in the following example. In an advanced search, the scope is determined by selecting the desired radio button.


Search scopes


The source of the record is identified in the search results. If you are interested in the MARC format, use the Library Catalog record.

Search scope identification


In addition to the predefined search scopes, when entering a search query, users may also see search suggestions as well as recent searches from the session. If a user is signed in, then they may see searches from previous sessions as well.   

Search scopes and history


Controlled Vocabulary Service

The Controlled Vocabulary service (which is similar to AutoComplete) expands user searches with words and phrases that constitute variations of the search term with the same meaning, thereby increasing the accuracy of the users' searches. The expansions are visible on the screen and add, for example, variations of the search term with the same meaning (example ADHD and attention deficit disorder).

Users are provided with an option to revert to using only their original search term. For example, if the user enters heart attack in the query, LocatorPlus Catalog also returns results that include myocardial infarction. If the user is interested only in results that include heart attack, the user can click the link to the right of the recommendation.

Controlled vocabulary service


Back to top


Advanced Search

Advanced search view


The advanced search function allows the user to specify additional lines of criteria beyond what is available with the basic search. The search scope can be selected via the top radio buttons. The

Field selector – For each search line, this parameter allows you to narrow the search to all search fields or a particular field (such as title and subject).

Search type – For each search line, this parameter indicates how your search terms are compared against the search field. The following values are valid:

  • is (exact) – Returns results that contain phrases that exactly match the phrases specified in the query.
  • contains – Returns results that contain all words in the phrase, but the words may be in a different order and may not be as close together.
  • starts with – Returns results that contain words that start with the specified string. This type performs left-anchored title searches only.

Operators – The same operators that work in a basic search are available in advanced search as well. See this section for more: Search Operators.

Search box – For each search line, enter the search query text, which may include words, phrases, and operators (AND, OR, and NOT).

Filters – Filters allow you to narrow your results to specific metadata (such as a material type or date range). In the search results, you can include and exclude facets to filter your results further.

After all options have been selected the search string will be previewed below the inputs. A total of seven lines of search terms may be defined.

Advanced search preview

Search Filters

Listed below are descriptions of some of the less commonly known search filters that are available to use.

MeSH Subjects: The Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) thesaurus is a controlled and hierarchically-organized vocabulary produced by the National Library of Medicine. It is used for indexing, cataloging, and searching of biomedical and health-related information. MeSH includes the subject headings appearing in MEDLINE/PubMed, the NLM Catalog, and other NLM databases.

NLM Unique ID: The element's value is the accession number for the record assigned in the NLM Catalog. An NLM Unique ID may be between seven and nineteen characters.

NLM Title Abbreviation: Title abbreviation following the abbreviation rules in the NLM Style Guide. Please see the following page for additional information: Construction of the National Library of Medicine Title Abbreviations

NLM Classification Number: Number based on the NLM Classification scheme

Abstract Index Tags: Indicates whether a title is included in PubMed, MEDLINE, or PMC

Publication Type: This field describes the type of material that the article represents; it characterizes the nature of the information or the way it is conveyed (e.g., Review, Letter, Retracted Publication, Clinical Trial). Records may contain more than one Publication Type, which are listed in alphabetical order.

Table of Contents: This field will search only the table of contents for a record.

Summary: This field will search a summary or abstract associated with a record.

PSTAT: Processing status of a bibliographic record.

Govt. Documents Number: A classification number assigned according to the SuDocs Classification Scheme.

Collab. Flag: A Record Flag used to generate reports based on the code within the field.

Permanence Status: Displays the level of permanence and whether the content may change over time.


Refining Your Results

The LocatorPlus Catalog gives users the ability to refine their search results based on multiple available filters. Users may also sort all results by Relevance, Date, Title, and Author.

To apply facets, select the facet to expand available options and make selections to the left of each. To exclude facets, select the box on the right of the facet. Included facets will show the green check and excluded will be an orange crossed check.

Refine your results   Include and exclude facets 

After making selections and applying the filters, Active filters will appear above the Refine your results menu.  The Active filters area allows users to remove facets, remember filters, or reset filters.

Persistent filters

After selecting facets, you may hover over an individual facet and click on the padlock icon to make that facet persistent throughout the session.

 Apply persistent filters 

You may also select Remember all filters to make all facets currently selected persistent throughout the session.

Remember all filters


Item Details

Brief Results

After entering a search query, the list of items will display some brief information:

  • Resource type
  • Title
  • Creator and contributor
  • Publisher
  • Creation date
  • Identification numbers
  • Availability status

In addition to the metadata, there are also some quick options available.

Quick action options

  1. Email allows users to email the record information to an email address.
  2. Permalink shows a permanent URL for the selected item and allows it to be copied to the clipboard.
  3. Add this item will add the record to the user’s saved records. These are available under Saved Records in My Favorites. If not logged in, then the saved records will only remain saved during the current session.
  4. Click the ellipsis button to display a larger set of export options below the record information. See Send To Actions section.

Full Display

The full display of each record in the LocatorPlus Catalog shows all associated metadata as well as links to request the item.

Send To Actions

This section allows you to perform the following actions on the selected record on both the Brief Results page and Full Display page. To see these options, click the ellipsis button on the Brief Results record or see the Send To section of the Full Display of the record.


Export options

  • Download MARC (gives the user the option to download the MARC record either as a MARCXML or MARC21 file)
  • Email item details
  • Create a permalink
  • Create a citation
  • Send to reference management service
  • Create a QR code
  • Export the metadata to Excel
  • Print the record

When you are looking at a record, you will see a Citation option under "Send To." Use this to automatically format a citation in APA, Chicago, MLA or Harvard style. Click the Copy Citation to Clipboard button to copy the citation, and you can paste the citation elsewhere.  If you have a citation manager installed, export citations to EndNote or RIS.



View Online

This section appears only if the item is available for online viewing. It allows you to view material from a specific source outside of the LocatorPlus Catalog. This could be a journal hosted on an external website or an item in the NLM Digital Collections.

View journal online


View Digital Collections resource


Get It

This section displays the displays the availability and holdings of the item and allows users to place requests for physical items in the library. Note: Resource requesting is not currently available due to NLM being closed to the public.


The Locations section displays all instances of the record. If there are multiple formats, they will be listed separately.  The call number for the record is available in this section as well.

Item locations


Filtering locations button By using the Filter button, users may refine their search by volume or year to find the exact version of the item they are searching for.  

Filtering locations options



This section displays the full details about the record to help users decide whether to choose this item.


All records have a link available to view the source record. Depending on the material, they may also have outside links to view the item in WorldCat, a link to View and download the MARC record gives the user the option to download the MARC record either as a MARCXML or MARC21 file. If the item is in the NLM Digital Collection, there will also be a link to the resource as it appears in

Resource links    Resource links


Users may access their saved records, saved searches, and search history from the menu to the top right corner of any page. Saved records and search history will be available for users throughout their session but they must be logged in to access saved searches.


Saved Records

The list of saved records can be sorted by Date added, Title, and Author. For further organization, labels can be added to records by selecting the Add Labels button below each record:  Add labels

They also may be added by selecting multiple records and then selecting the label button at the top of the page.

 Add labels to multiple records.

After adding labels, they will be available in the sort section and can be selected to display the records to which the labels were applied. Multiple labels can be added and then selected to sort the records.

Sort favorites.

Saved Searches

For each saved search you may create an RSS feed, set an alert, or remove the selected search from the saved list. The RSS feed and email alert will trigger when a new record is added that fits the parameters of the saved search. When setting an email alert, the email will be sent to the address associated with your account

Saved search alerts.

Search History

This tab displays all searches for your current session. Users who are logged in will have their history saved throughout multiple sessions. From this tab you may add the search queries to your Favorites or delete them.

My Account

The My Account section provides an overview of all Loans and Requests. The Personal Details section shows all personal information associated with the account.

For additional information

If you have questions about your account, please contact the NLM Customer Service.

Retrieving NLM Bibliographic Records from the LocatorPlus Catalog via Z39.50

Visit the NLM Support Center for more information on Z39.50 access:

Resolving Common Errors

Error: “This page can’t be found”.
Solution: Clear the cache and restart the browser.

Error: The LocatorPlus Catalog partially loads pages and appears to be stuck.
Solution: Reload the page.

Error: A search is returning nothing when there should be results.
Solution: Clear the cache of the browser and retry the search.

Reporting an Error in an NLM record

Please send corrections to NLM Customer Service.

Back to top


Last Reviewed: March 14, 2022