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How do I choose good words to search in catalog with? (so that I can find books)

1488 views   |   Last updated on Sep 27, 2021    Finding Books Finding Articles


There are several ways to answer this question but perhaps the simplest way is to answer it with a question.

What words do you want to find in your results? 

If you're using a keyword search, the search engine will only find the words you enter in most cases. It usually won't translate it into a comparable term. So take a minute and think about that.

The important thing is to have some patience and try different terms and synonyms. Concentrate on major concepts then narrow it down. Chances are the more words you enter, the fewer appropriate results you'll get so start with one or two words and add more to get fewer results.

When you find something that works, open the detailed catalog record and see what SUBJECTS are listed. In our catalog, you can click through and find more items in the same category. Correct spelling matters and punctuation like dashes and colons should be left out. In many databases, quotation marks around a phrase will find the exact phrase. Without them pieces of the phrase will appear and clutter your results list.

When you find a term that works for books, make a note of it and use it in databases to search for articles.

See the How to Use the Library Catalog tutorial for additional information.


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