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Keyword Searches

A Keyword search displays records with the word or phrase anywhere in the field you choose (author, title, subject). “Everything” searches the entire record. This differs from Browse searches, which require you to enter the beginning word or phrase.

For example, a Keyword search for wind displays both “Gone With The Wind” and “Wind in the Willows.” A Browse search for wind displays “Wind in the Willows” only.

To perform a Keyword search:

TIP: Multiple terms may be searched as a phrase by enclosing the terms in quotes ” “. For example, the search “most dangerous game” will retrieve only records with the phrase “most dangerous game”. If the search is entered without the quotes as most dangerous game you will retrieve any record containing the words “most dangerous game” in any order.


Keyword Search Fields

Author
Select this field to search for works by a particular author. Type the author’s name in either order, for example, TWAIN MARK or MARK TWAIN (note that a comma is not needed). If the item you are looking for is not a book (for example, a video), it may not have an author. Try a Title or Subject search.

Title
A title search works best if you are looking for a specific item and know the exact title. Don’t type leading articles (a, an, the). For example, if you’re searching for “The Shining” by Stephen King, type SHINING. It is not necessary to type articles between words, but this may help in narrowing your search.

Subject
A subject search is most useful if you know what kind of information you are looking for, but don’t know the title or author’s name. For example, CHILD PSYCHOLOGY or STAMP COLLECTING. Hyphens are optional. To search for a person’s name as a subject, type the name in either order, for example, GRISHAM JOHN or JOHN GRISHAM (no comma needed).

Series
A series title search works best if you are looking for a specific series and know the exact series title. Don’t type leading articles (a, an, the). It is not necessary to type articles between words, but this may help in narrowing your search.

Periodical Title
A periodical title search works best if you are looking for a specific periodical and know the exact periodical title. Don’t type leading articles (a, an, the). It is not necessary to type articles between words, but this may help in narrowing your search.

Everything
Select this field to search all indexed fields of the bibliographic record; not just the author, title, or subject fields. This is the default search (if you press ENTER after typing the search word or phrase) and is usually the easiest type of search, however, it produces the most hits. For example, if you type PLANT and press ENTER (or click everything), the hit list could include items about green plants and nuclear plants, authors named Plant, titles of works containing the word plant, etc.


Using Wild Cards (Symbol Truncation)

Use wild cards in Keyword searches only.You can use the two wild cards described below to assist your searching:

? The question mark represents a single character. For example:

sm?th would find smith or smyth

wom?n would find woman or women

star? would find starr, stars, or start

$ The dollar sign represents multiple characters at the end of a search term. For example:

smith$ would find smith, smithson, or smithsonian

dream$ would find dream, dreams, or dreaming


Boolean Operators

A Keyword search may produce a long hit list of items, many you may not want. To help alleviate this problem, you can refine your search by using Boolean operators and search qualifiers.The words AND, NOT, and OR, when placed between search terms, change the way the system conducts a search. You may combine Boolean operators in the same search.

AND
AND searches for records that have both terms located somewhere in the record. The resulting search set will be ONLY those records which have both terms. For example:

animals AND australia

produces a hit list of records that have both “animals” and “australia.”

NOT
NOT excludes records containing a certain term or phrase. For example:

Elvis NOT Presley

produces a hit list that has the word “Elvis” but excludes records containing the word “Presley.”

OR
OR searches for records containing either or both search terms or phrases. This operator is often used with terms with similar meaning or usage. For example:

soviet union OR ussr

NOTE: To include a boolean operator (and, not, or) in your search as a term rather than an operator enclose the word in quotes ” “. For example, the search “not” so big house will retrieve records with the word “not” and the words “so big house”.

Using Search Qualifiers

A Keyword search may produce a long hit list of items, many you may not want. To help alleviate this problem, you can refine your search by using Boolean operators and search qualifiers.Search Qualifiers limit your search to specific fields. This speeds up response time and narrows the search to the more relevant records. The most commonly used qualifiers are as follows:

  • au (author)
  • su (subject)
  • ti (title)

Here are two examples:su psychology NOT child: This search retrieves records on the subject psychology that do not contain the word child anywhere in the record.

ti grapes AND au steinbeck: This search retrieves records with grapes in the title field and steinbeck in the author field.

NOTE: When using search qualifiers you must perform the search using the “Everything” button.