Word/Phrase Search Help
A word or phrase search looks for a word, words, or phrase from a title,
subject, note, or a song or short story title. It is a useful way to search
when you are unsure of the exact title of a book, video, CD, etc., but think
you know a word or two, or when you aren't sure what subject heading to use.
It's also useful when you want to broaden your search and find more items
you found with a regular title, author, or subject search, or when you want
to narrow your search because you know an exact phrase.
Multiple words are searched as a phrase unless and, or, and not,
within are used (See "Boolean operators" below). For
home repair only looks for records that have the phrase
repair in them, not records that have both separate words
and repair in different positions.
CAPITALIZATION does not matter - stephen king = Stephen
· Apostrophes are removed - omalley = O'Malley ; shed =
· All other punctuation marks are treated as a space - fodors
u s a
= Fodor's U.S.A.
Single word or phrase searches may result in the retrieval of either a very
large number of titles or too small a number. To narrow or broaden your word
search, type more than one word to make a phrase or use the Boolean
or connectors: and, and not, or, near, within.
and - Used to narrow a search by looking for two or more
in the catalog's information about a title. Each title retrieved must have
words somewhere in its full record. To use and for a
it is necessary to actually type the word and as there is
implied and between words. For example: searching for
and repair will list all titles that have both words somewhere in
and not - Used to narrow a search by excluding a word from
a search. For example: searching for mexico and not new
list all titles that have the word mexico in their full
except those that have the word new.|
or - Used to broaden a search by combining lists of titles
that have either one word, or another word, in their full records. For
searching for home or house will list all titles that have
either the word home or the word house in
their full record.|
near - Used to narrow a search to words near each other in
any order (within 10 words) in the same labeled field of a full record
a single title, subject, or note field. For example: searching for
near history would list the title United States
but not the title Labor Stands United that had a subject
of Labor unions – History because they are in
within - Used to narrow a search to words within a
number of words in any order in the same labeled field of a full record. For
example: united within 2 congress will list the title
of the United States Congress, but not Congress Will Never
Be United because the words are separated by more two words.
To include the words and, and not, or, within, near, in a
search and not use them as Boolean search commands, enclose them in
marks ("_"). For example: war "and"
; "near" east.
WILDCARDS AND TRUNCATION
To search for a word when you are unsure of one or more of its interior or
letters, or when you want to search for multiple words with a common stem,
that letter or letters with a:
? (question mark) · replaces a single letter · narrow
* (asterisk) · replaces from one to five letters · broader
** (double asterisk) · replaces any number of letters ·
PARENTHESES TO PRIORITIZE SEARCHES
Parentheses force the catalog to perform initial searches on the words
them, and then combine them with those outside. For example: searching for
and (home or house) will list titles that have the word
and either the word home or the word house
in their full records. This would be equivalent to the search
and home) or (repair and house). Note that the search without
repair and home or house, would be quite different, as it
first search for all titles that contain both the word
and the word home, then add to that list all the titles
have the word house in them.
You may narrow your search by limiting it to specific types of fields in
records like author (a=), title (t=),
(s=), or note (n=). For example: to search
only the title fields for the phrase african americans (and
not the subject fields) you would type t=african americans.
You may use Boolean search commands to combine searches from specific
For example: to retrieve only the title "Different Seasons" by
King you might search t=seasons and a=king · this
titles with the words seasons and king in
the subject or notes fields.
To choose how your search will be sorted, before performing the search (or
click in the box next to Sort by: that says DATE and you
see a menu with the options DATE, ALPHABETICAL, and
Point with your mouse to the way you wish your search sorted and click or
when it is highlighted. The default is by Date.
Date - your search results will be sorted by year of
and displayed in reverse chronological order (newest first).|
Alphabetically - your search results will be sorted
Relevance - your search results will be sorted with the
relevant titles first and will display with an extra column showing one to
stars. Relevance is determined by the following and in the following
· Type of field the word or phrase appears in (in order from most
least) 1.Title, 2.Author, 3.Subject, 4.Note.
· Number of times the word or phrase appears in each record.
· How close multiple words or phrases are to each other in each
Limiting is a way to narrow the results of a search and should be done
a search is performed (or after clicking ).
More than one option may be used to limit the results of a search, although
limiting by both "Material format" and "Collection where item
is located" together would be either redundant or yield no
Material format - The default is "ANY" format.
in the box that says "ANY" will pull up a menu that lists the
of materials you may limit by, such as book, video, music, or spoken word.
limit your search results to one format, point with your mouse to the format
you wish from the list and click or release when it is highlighted. For
searching for the word dogs and limiting it to
will list all video titles that have the word dogs anywhere
in the full record, including movies, nonfiction videos, and children's
Collection where item is located - The default is
collection. Clicking in the box that says "ANY" will pull up a
that lists most collection locations in the library, such as adult
juvenile picture books, or nonfiction video. To limit your search result to
one collection, point with your mouse to the collection you wish from the
and click or release when it is highlighted. For example: searching for the
word dogs and limiting it to Children’s
Books will list all the books in the Picture Book collection that
the word dogs anywhere in the full record.
Year of publication - Typing a full year date (ex: 1996) in
either the "After" box or "Before" box or different
in each box to make a range will limit your search results to materials
before or after the date typed, or between two dates if you've filled in
· Words searched using a keyword search will appear in red in the
record of all resulting titles.
· If you do not find what you need, please ask a librarian for