Advanced Searches

With advanced searching, you can do a complex, focused keyword search, combining several search terms and selecting a search field for each one. You do not need to know any special commands to do advanced searching. If your library offers other databases to search, they are available to select for an advanced search.

Connecting Search Terms (Operators)

You can combine search terms with the following connector words (also called logical operators, or Boolean operators):

And - Search results must match the search text before And, and the search text after And.

A search for Subject: planets And Author: Asimov finds only the works written by Asimov about planets. Any works about planets by other writers and any works by Asimov about other subjects are not found.

Or - Search results can match the search text before Or, the search text after Or, or both search terms.

The search Any field: planets Or Author: Asimov finds all works written by Asimov, as well as all works containing the word planets in any search field regardless of the author.

Not - Search results must match the search text before Not, but must not include the search text after Not.

A search that specifies Any field: planets Not Author: Asimov finds works containing the word planets in any search field, except works by Asimov.

Typing Search Text - Advanced Searches

Case, spaces, punctuation - Letter case, multiple spaces, and punctuation are ignored. Omit hyphens in numbers. However, you can include the following characters if they immediately precede or follow a letter or number (no space between): + # % $

Multiple words - If you type multiple words in the box, the search usually looks for all the words you entered (Keyword ALL search). However, your library may offer a list of options next to each text box, where you can choose how multiple words should be handled. The table shows the access points for each option, and the effect on search results:



Access Points

Search Effect

Keyword (ALL)

AU, GENRE, KW (Any Field), NOTE, PUB, SE, SU, TI

All of the keywords in the search term must exist.

Keyword (ANY)

AU, GENRE, KW (Any Field), NOTE, PUB, SE, SU, TI

Any one of the keywords in the search term must exist.

Phrase (ADJ)

AU, GENRE, KW (Any Field), NOTE, PUB, SE, SU, TI

All of the keywords in the search term must exist, and must be adjacent to each other in the order specified in the search term.

Exact (==)


The search term must be an exact match.

Wildcard characters - You can type a part of a word and use a wildcard character. The wildcard character asterisk (*) represents the rest of the word. For example, if you type King*, the results include words such as King, Kingsley, and Kingford. The wildcard character question mark (?) represents exactly one character. For example, wom?n finds woman and women. If the question mark occurs at the end of a word, it does not act as a wildcard character, so you can find titles like what color is your parachute? Also, if you type a backslash character \ before any wildcard character, the wildcard character is treated as text.

For the number fields CODEN, ISBN, ISSN, Publisher No., STRN, and SuDoc, enter the complete number for best results.

Do an advanced search

To do an advanced search:

  1. Select Advanced on the Search menu. The Advanced search bar appears.
  2. Select the first Find Any field box, and select a search field from the list.
  3. Type the search text in the empty box next to the first field. See Typing Search Text - Advanced Searches. You must type a search term in the first Find field.
  4. Select the first And box, and select an operator (And, Or, Not) to combine the first term with the next term. See Connecting Search Terms (Operators).

If you type one of these operators in a search term box, it is treated as search text, not as an operator.

  1. Select the second Any field box, select a search field from the list, and type the second term in the empty box next to the second field. You can select Clear to clear your search terms and start again.
  2. If you want to add more search terms, repeat steps 2-5.

As you add search terms, the bar at the top of the page displays your search command. The terms you entered are displayed in normal type. The search commands, operators, and punctuation that the program creates are displayed in bold type.

When the search is launched, the operators will be processed according to the following order of precedence (lower values take precedence over higher values):

The search bar at the top of the page shows the order of precedence by placing nesting parentheses where appropriate. Terms within parentheses are processed first.

If you leave a text entry box empty, the operator and search field associated with the text box are ignored. As you construct your search, the form shows the active boxes in a contrasting color.

  1. To add another set of search terms, follow these steps:
    1. Select Add or exclude another set of search terms. The plus sign next to this link changes to a minus sign, and the page expands to display another set of four search fields. (You can select the minus sign to collapse the page again.)
    2. By the Add or exclude link, select an operator (And, Or, Not) to connect the two sets of search terms.
    3. Type the second set of search terms.

As you type, you see your search command in the bar at the top of the page. Your search command cannot be greater than 1,000 characters total.

When the search starts, terms in the top portion are placed in parentheses and processed in order of precedence (see step 6), the terms in the bottom portion are placed in parentheses and processed in order of precedence, then the top and bottom sections are combined according to the operator that separates them.

  1. To limit your search, select the Limit by box, and select an option from the list. Example: If you want to find only DVDs, select DVD in the Limit by list.

Your library may provide a digital collection that you can search and access online in the same way that you search for other materials. Materials in the collection may include images, video clips, sound files, and text files. If you want to restrict your search results to digital collection materials, select Digital Collection in the Limit by box.

  1. If you want to set additional limits, follow these steps:
    1. Select More Search Options. The search options window opens.
    2. Select the settings you want. On a desktop computer, to select several consecutive items in a list, hold down the SHIFT key as you select the items. To select several items that are not listed together, hold down the CTRL key as you select the items. On a tablet or smart phone, you can select multiple items but the method depends on your device. You can also exclude items from a search. Select them from the appropriate list, and select the Exclude box below the list.

Detailed material types are defined by the library for the physical items the library owns. The formats in the Limit by box on the search bar refer to general formats and types of materials associated with title entries in the catalog. You can limit a search by format or detailed material type, but not both. If you selected a format in the Limit by box when you set up your search, your format choice is canceled when you set a material type.

  1. Select Set Search Options. The search options window closes and the search bar displays a highlighted message that options have been set. To change them, select the Change link in the highlighted Options set message, set new values and select Set Search Options. Then do a new search. (The previous search, if any, is automatically done again using your new options settings.)

To reset the search options to their original values, select the Clearlink in the highlighted Options set message. The search is done again, using the original values.

Search options retain their settings until you reset them or go to the home page. The highlighted message Options set on the search bar indicates that search options are set to values different from the default values.

  1. To search a database other than the library’s catalog, or select multiple databases to search:
    1. Select Select Databases. The Select Databases window opens with the local database selected. If you do not want to search the local catalog along with the remote databases, select the check box next to the local database to clear the check box.
    2. Select the remote databases. If your library has organized the databases into categories, you can select a category, and the remote databases under that category are selected.
    3. Select Set Databases to save your selections to save your selections. The window closes. (The previous search, if any, is automatically done again using your new database settings.).

Your selections remain until you reset them. To reset the search databases, click or tap Clear.

  1. Click or tap the search icon .
  1. To see more information about a title in your search results list, select the title or cover image.
  2. To filter your search results or do related searches, click a Narrow or Related option at the side or bottom of the page.

If you selected Include related words for your search results, you may see two options under Narrow: See what was added, and See original results.