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**Try our TOPCAT FAQ** Check here for tutorials & help logging in, managing your TOPCAT account, renewing items, requesting items in TOPCAT & questions about SWITCH.

-How do I log in?
-I forgot my password
-Logging in off campus
-InterLibrary Loan Requests
-Course reserves
-Finding full text
-How do I cite this in APA?
-Renew a book online
-Reserve a group study room
-Access email from off campus
-Action Research/Practice-Based Inquiry Projects
-Finding Textbooks

How do I log in?

First time logging in? You’ll need the 14-digit barcode next to your picture on your student ID.
   1) Go to
   2) Enter your 14-digit barcode for both the username AND password
   3) Change your password after the first time you log in (

I forgot my password

Call the library at (414)382-6062 and we’ll reset it for you.

I'm off campus and it's telling me I need to log in. Huh?

Do you see a screen asking you to Log in to your TOPCAT account? If so, enter your TOPCAT log in (see question #1 for help). If not, give us a call at (414)382-6202 so we can look into it.

What is InterLibrary Loan (ILL) and how do I submit a request?

InterLibrary Loan allows patrons borrow materials from non-SWITCH libraries. For everything you need to know about ILL (how long it takes, how to pick up/return, etc.) check out our ILL Policy page.

To submit an ILL request for an article, fill out this form

To submit an ILL request for a book, fill out this form.

NOTE: If the material you want is available through one of the SWITCH schools (Alverno, Cardinal Stritch, Concordia, MIAD, Mount Mary, Sacred Heart, Saint Francis Seminary, and Wisconsin Lutheran) you can request it through TOPCAT. For more on how to do so, check this section on the TOPCAT FAQ page.

How do I find course reserves?

Getting to course reserves

Finding your course

  • In the search box above the list of course reserves, enter your course abbreviation and number (ex: N450), or your instructor’s last name. Click the link for your course. Click the title for the item you want. 
  • If the item is an e-reserve item, you’ll see a link to “Connect to this resource online”. 
  • If it is part of our physical reserve collection, make a note of the title and/or call number and ask for it at the help desk in the library.

How do I find full text?

There are a few different ways to find the full text of an article when you already have the citation.

Google Scholar
  • Click the Google Scholar link on the library homepage (direct link here)
  • This is especially important if you’re off campus. The link on our homepage is synced to our databases, that’s how it knows whether or not to give you full text access
  • Enter the article title in quotation marks
  • If we have full text access, a link should appear on the right hand side that says either “Full Text @ Alverno” or [HTML] from Ebsco or [PDF] from
  • Click those links to go to the full text
eJournal Portal
  • Click the eJournal Portal link on the library homepage (direct link here)
  • Enter the JOURNAL title (NOT the article title) in the search box
  • If Alverno has full text access, a list of links will appear for each of the databases we subscribe to that provide full text. Check the date ranges provided to make sure your article falls within access. Click any link to go to that eJournal.
  • If “in Alverno Print Holdings” appears on the list, that means we have a physical copy of the journal in our collection
  • Use the rest of your citation to find the volume and issue number that has your article. Click into the necessary issue and locate your article on the table of contents.
  • Go to TOPCAT or start from the TOPCAT search box on the library homepage
  • Enter the JOURNAL title (NOT the article title) in the search box, change the dropdown menu from Keyword to Journal Title and hit search. This will pull up any SWITCH schools that have physical or electronic access to this journal
  • To place a hold/request for a journal article through TOPCAT, follow these instructions

How do I cite this in APA?

The library’s Citing Sources page can help you get started.

You can also get tips from the Purdue Online Writing Lab.

How do I renew a book online?

Find out how to renew and view items online in the TOPCAT FAQ

How do I reserve a group study room?

Group study rooms are typically first come, first serve. If you wish to reserve a group study room, ask your instructor to contact their subject area liaison.

How do I access my email from off campus?

From on campus, you will need your system username and password. From off campus, you will need to enter Alverno\ before the username (ex: Alverno\janedoe). This Alverno\ prefix is what is meant by "organizational account".

For the most up to date links & information on accessing email from off campus, check the Tech Services website.

How do I find Action Research Reports and/or Practice-Based Inquiry Projects?

Go to TOPCAT and select Series from the search bar's dropdown menu. Enter either "action research reports" or "practice-based inquiry project/report". Hit search. Many of these reports are available as PDFs online, for others you may have to stop into the library to view them.

Finding Textbooks

The library has created an open reserve collection for the textbooks that we carry to make them easier for students to find and use. We do not have copies of textbooks for every class. Textbooks will have different checkout periods depending on the nature of the book and how many copies we have. Each book is labeled with the checkout period.

Fines will not be forgiven. If a student returns a book late, they must pay the fine. This is to ensure that books are returned on time so that the highest number of students have access to them. The fines are below:
4 hour book - $1.00/hour
3 day book - $2.00/day
7 day book - $2.00/day

This collection is updated each semester to hold only the books being used in current course offerings. To view a list of the textbooks currently held in this collection, check here in TOPCAT.