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Search Tips

An introduction to searching the library catalog, discover (articles, books & more), or course reserves

What is in the Library Catalog

The Library Catalog searches the library's home collection.  This includes books, e-books, journals, DVDs, and media that we own or have electronic access to.

Advanced Search

The Advanced Search of the Library Catalog provides a search of library holdings with more guidance in the form of dropdown menu options such as keywords, title, author/creator, (Library of Congress) subject, ISBN, ISSN and more.

Browse Search

The Browse Search allows for a more specialized search such as by Library of Congress call number, SUDOC call number (a form of call number for government documents), and other specialty call numbers.

A Browse Search by subject, title, or author is useful for displaying a list of subjects, titles, or authors that fall under the particular phrase or term searched. See the example below of a Browse by author search on Dick, Philip K.:

Locating an eBook

  1. Like the instructions for Locating a Print Book, begin with the Library Catalog and put in the title, author, or keywords of the book you desire:

  2. In your first set of results, go to Refine My Results on the left side of the page and click on Available Online under "Availability":

  3. Click on the "View Online" tab of the book that interests you to get a link to access the book online. Depending on your location, you may be asked to enter your NetID and password to access the ebook:

  4. Ebooks will vary on whether they can be downloaded or must be viewed in-browser. See the eBooks Guide or the Quick Reference Guide to Ebooks (MS Word file) for more tips on accessing online books.

Simple Search

Access the Library Catalog.

The Simple Search defaults to Keywords anywhere. It will accept any combination of terms: keyword/topic, subject, title, author, ISBN, ISSN, and so on. Use the Library Catalog to search for books/ebooks, journals/ejournals, DVDs/emovies, and other media. For a more granular search that includes articles from newspapers, journals, and magazines in addition to the materials listed above, use the ARTICLES, Books & More (Discover) tab instead.

Additional search tips:

  • The library catalog assumes that you are searching for all the words you type unless OR or NOT is specified between the words and phrases.
  • For an exact phrase search, surround your terms in quotation marks, e.g., "United States of America" (~8,000 matches) rather than United States of America (~36,000 matches). Alternatively, click the dropdown menu and change it from Keywords anywhere to Exact phrase for the same effect.
  • For a Title search, click the dropdown menu and change it from Keywords anywhere to Title. When inputting a title, be sure to omit any initial article (e.g., "A," "An," or "The").
  • You may include wildcard characters in your search for greater flexibility:
    • ?—enter a question mark to perform a single character wildcard search. For example, type wom?n to search for records that contain the strings woman, women, and so forth.
    • *—enter an asterisk to perform a multiple character wildcard search. For example, type cultur* to search for records that contain the strings culture, cultural, culturally, and so forth.
  • For additional help with search term operators and advanced search features, see the Library Catalog (Discover) online help guide.

Using Refining Tools

Upon getting your initial list of results, use the Refine My Results filters on the left side of the screen to refine your results by Resource Type (books, journals, media, etc.), Availability ("Available in the Library" for physical items or "Available Online" for online access), Date (by year), Library Collections (government documents, Main Stacks books, ebooks and so on), and more. Use Refine My Results to narrow within your search results in order to produce a more manageable and relevant list of matches for your search terms.

Locating a Print Book

  1. Begin with the Library Catalog and put in the title, author, or keywords of the book you desire:

  2. In your list of results, click on Available in the Library on the left side of the page under "Availablity." Books within this category will mainly include print books as well as audio books (books on CD) and other physical media formats:

  3. When selecting a book that interests you, click on the "Find it in the library" tab to get details such as the book's call number (needed to find it on the shelf) and its availability (checked out or not).

  4. Underneath this tab, you may click on Where is it? for a map that will depict where to go in the library for the book and obtain the call number:

    Call No.: PG 3366.V6 2006b