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Canadian National Catalogue

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Introducing AMICUS

Select a topic below or the Help Contents

What is AMICUS?

AMICUS is an information resource developed and maintained by the Library and Archives Canada (LAC). Amicus in Latin means "friend". AMICUS is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Search Service
Over 1,300 institutions across Canada subscribe to this service. Since 1983, the (NLC has provided access to the AMICUS database for general research, decentralized resource sharing, interlibrary loans and the development of local libraries.

The AMICUS database contains over 24 million records and 40 million holdings from over 1,300 Canadian libraries. This includes records created online and those added from offline sources. Over half the records provide Canadian locations.

Authorities (registration required)

  • Canadiana name and title authorities
  • Canadian Subject Headings (CSH) authority records


  • Serial records authenticated by LAC, LC and the National Serials Data Program

Library of Congress (LC)

  • Multilingual monograph records
  • Items in the National Program for Acquisitions and Cataloguing
  • Items in the Cataloguing In Publication (CIP) program
  • Retrospective items: English items since 1968, other items since 1973

Machine Readable Accessions (MARA)

  • Records and holdings contributed by hundreds of Canadian libraries, cataloguing on other systems

Library and Archives Canada Bibliographic

  • Items held by the Library and Archives Canada
  • Items by Canadian authors or publishers and items about Canada
  • Monographs, theses, pamphlets, serials (including newspapers)
  • Canadian federal and provincial government documents
  • Electronic resources, sound recordings and printed music
  • Items in the Canadian Cataloguing In Publication (CIP) program

Online Input

  • Records created in AMICUS by the Canadian Institute for Historical Microreproductions, Health Canada's Health Protection Branch and National Archives of Canada.

Your AMICUS Account

(registration required)

Account Information
You can see the information below about your AMICUS account by selecting the Account command. The command appears on the Basic, Advanced and Command Search screens.

Screen shot of Account command

To correct the information displayed, select the Comments command.

  • User name
  • Organization name
  • Name, telephone, fax and email address of your local contact for AMICUS services
  • Date that your password expires (shown as year-month-day)
  • Total number of searches to date for your user name and for your organization as a whole. The total includes searches done during the period for both AMICUS Web and Z39.50.

There is no charge for using AMICUS.

Choosing Your Options

(registration required)

You can customize AMICUS to your needs with the Options command. The command appears on the Basic, Advanced and Command Search screens.

Screen shot of Options command

Selecting the Options command displays the first of four Options screens.

Options (first screen of options)
On the first Options screen you can set your display preferences.

  • Database: your choices are the entire database or a part of it
  • Record display: your choices are brief, full or MARC display
  • Authority display: your choices are full or MARC display
  • Search screen display: your choices are basic, advanced or command display
  • Email: your saved search results can be sent to a default email address.

Customize Basic Search Screen (second screen of options)
On the second screen of options you can select the indexes that are to display on the Basic Search screen. There are two boxes shown side by side: the left box shows the indexes available and the right box shows the indexes selected for display on the Search screen.

Screen shot of Indexes Option

To add an index to the Basic Search screen, select it in the left box and click the Add button. AMICUS moves the index to the right.To remove an index from the Basic Search screen, select it in the right box and click Remove. AMICUS moves the index to the left. To select several indexes, press the Control key and then select each index desired.

Customize Advanced Search Screen (third screen of options)
On the third screen of options you can select both the indexes and limiters that are to display on the Advanced Search screen. Follow the steps used to customize the Basic Search screen.

Select Your Favorite Locations (fourth screen of options)
On the fourth screen of options you can select up to ten libraries that you want highlighted on the Locations screen.

Screen shot of Locations Option

To add a library to your list of favorite locations, type in the library symbol in uppercase in the box on the left and click the Add button. To remove a library, select the symbol from the list on the right and click the Remove button. You may search the Interlibrary Loans Directory for library symbols; prior to using the directory, save your current choices.

Saving Your Options

Screen shot of Save options

You can save the options selected on any options screen. You can save the options permanently or temporarily (for this session only). To return to the previously saved options use the Reset button.

Contacting Us for Help

IM/IT Service Desk
For questions about your AMICUS user name, password and authorization. Weekdays 9:00 to 16:00 ET (except holidays, including Victoria Day & Remembrance Day).
(Web form)
Telephone: 819-934-4300; 1-866-578-7777
Fax: 819-994-6835
TTY: 613-992-6969
Mail: IM/IT Service Desk
Library and Archives Canada,
395 Wellington Street,
Ottawa, ON   K1A 0N4

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