Wednesday, January 19, 2005

How to access the catalog of the Sterling Morton Library

A repository of centuries of knowledge about plants, the Sterling Morton Library of The Morton Arboretum is devoted mainly to the literature of botany and horticulture, especially as it relates to trees and shrubs that can be grown in northern Illinois. Open to all, the Library and its collections serve both as scholarly and general public resources about plants.

The Sterling Morton Library is a member of SWAN, an integrated library automation system, shared by 77 member libraries within the Metropolitan Library System. Access to this shared online catalog is via:

Author, Title, Subject, Author/Title combination and all categories may be searched within SWAN’s online catalog. Full keyword searching (including contents notes), Boolean searching, as well as limiting by format, publication date and language are also available in SWAN.

To search only the collections of the Sterling Morton Library, please view our catalog at:, select the “Morton Arboretum” as the collection to search.

Wondering what resources the Sterling Morton Library has on shade gardening?
Try searching under one of these subject headings:

  • Shade-tolerant plants
  • Gardening in the shade
  • Woodland garden plants
  • Woodland gardening

Curious which resources the Sterling Morton Library has on maples?
Try creating a keyword search under “Acer” (the plant’s scientific name) and “maple” (the plant’s common name).

Hint: Try searching only the resources of the Morton Arboretum. Use the Boolean operator “or” to include records with either Acer or maple in the catalog records. By using the word “and,” you will retrieve catalog records that contain both Acer and maple – a slightly smaller list of records.

  • Acer or maple

Among the 60 catalog records listed for the Arboretum’s collections, you will discover An illustrated guide to maples by Le Hardy de Beaulieu, Japanese maples by Vertrees, plus you will also discover a print of maple leaves (brown ink on white paper) by Henry Evans, a lithograph of Acer campestre by Emile Favart, a whimsical children’s book by Lois Ehlert called Red leaf, yellow leaf and 3 delightful pen and ink drawings by Nancy Hart Stieber illustrating Miyabe maple fruit. (The pen and ink drawing techniques are: Cross hatch and stipple technique. Heavy lined background and stipple technique. Stipple and line technique. To be exact!)

Wondering which images are in the Arboretum’s collection by May T. Watts? You can create a keyword search such as:

  • Morton and art and Watts

Hint: Each image cataloged in the Arboretum’s art collection was given the “fingerprint” of Morton Arboretum. Art Collection, this can be a powerful keyword tool as you search for images within the collection!

If you are seeking an image of an oak in the Arboretum’s collection, you can create a keyword search such as:

  • Morton and art and (quercus or oak)

Hint: The parentheses allow you to search for either Quercus (the plant’s scientific name) or oak (the plant’s common name) in the catalog records. You will discover over 90 records including a watercolor by Mary Ackermann, a line and stipple drawing of a white oak leaf by Nancy Hart Stieber and a pen & ink drawing of Quercus macrocarpa by Tony Tyznik.

Wondering what images of mushrooms are in this collection, create a keyword search such as:

  • Morton and art and mushrooms

Be dazzled by the works by Beggs, Caspari, Lively and others in our collection!

Wondering which different art techniques are represented in this collection? Create a keyword search to find them!

  • Morton and art and scratchboard
  • Morton and art and watercolor
  • Morton and art and stipple

These searches will allow you to focus on the different techniques represented in our collection.

Happy searching!

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