Library Catalog: Search by Keyword

To locate materials in the catalog by keyword, choose the “Library Catalog” option on the main Library Catalog page and then select Keyword Search. In the “Search Input” box, type one or more terms relating to your topic. The system will look in the title, corporate author, subject, and table of contents fields for that word or words. Since the Library Catalog is capable of searching all fields within a record, keyword searching is a valuable tool that expands your search capability. Together with “boolean” and “proximity” searching, you can define a catalog search for both recall and relevance of retrieved records.

Tips for Searching by Keyword

  • Phrase Searching: Advanced Keyword searching allows you to search for words as phrases. So, when you type in the words “welfare reform,” the system will look for those words next to each other.
  • Use of Boolean Operators: If you want to search for two concepts separately you would use the boolean operator AND.
    • For example: welfare reform and poverty
  • If you want to search for synonyms of a concept, use the boolean operator OR
    • For example: poverty or impoverished
  • A typical search string that combines both concepts might look like this: (welfare reform) and (poverty or poor or low income or impoverished)
  • Truncation: The asterisk “*” is used as a truncation symbol.
    • In the new advanced keyword search, one asterisk “*” means that the system will add up to five characters to the root of your word:
    • adolescen* will give you adolescent or adolescents or adolescence
    • Two asterisks “**” means that the truncation is open-ended. This can be a little dangerous since you may get words that you hadn’t anticipated, but would work with a root word like “development.”
    • develop** will yield develop or developed or developmental or developmentally
  • Proximity: You can now use the word “near” to specify words that you want to be close to each other (up to ten words apart).
    • For example: caregiving near burden would give you a title that includes the phrase “the burden of
      caregiving” as well as “caregiving burden.”
  • Sorting By Year: Another addition to the keyword search is that the system automatically gives you results in chronological (rather than alphabetical order). This eliminates the need to sort by year.
  • Prelimiting: Advanced keyword searching also offers the option to prelimit searches. To do this, type in the term or terms that you want and then choose to limit by Location to a particular Case library, or to a particular Material Type (Projected AV for videos; Serials for journals; etc.).

A combination of all of these new features should make your keyword searches more productive and help you identify the books, government documents or pamphlets, that will assist you in your research. Check the help menu on the keyword screen for additional options that can help fine-tune your search.

If you want to do an additional subject search, just click on the Another Search button or type a new heading in the “search box.” If you want to switch to searching by author or by title or by subject, click on the New Search button.

In the Library Catalog you can print one record at a time by clicking on the Print icon or you can print, download, or e-mail multiple records by marking them for export.

The Harris Library also offers a tutorial on boolean logic and proximity searches.

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