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Books - Using the Library Catalog & Finding Books

General Search Hints

the Library Catalog is not case sensitive. Searches may be entered in UPPERCASE, lower case, or Mixed Case.

Initial Articles
When used as the first word of a title, English language articles, "a", "an", and "the", are disregarded by LAMP. For example, "The New Yorker" is searched as "New Yorker." For all other languages, omit initial articles from your search EXCEPT for places and some other proper names. For example, for the Latin American country use "El Salvador" not just "Salvador"; for the French architect use "Le Corbusier".


The Library Catalog automatically converts the ampersand (&) to the spelled out word "and". Apostrophes are ignored. For example, O'Hara will be searched for as if it were spelled OHara. It automatically replaces most other punctuation marks by spaces when doing a search.

Use the asterisk "*" at the end of a search word or string of letters to find all words beginning with these same letters. For example, child* will retrieve child, childhood, children, child's, etc. Truncation within a word is not available.

Exact Matching
When searching by TITLE results may be limited using the exact match symbol, the vertical bar "|" (usually located on the backslash \ key). For instance, input "time|" to retrieve only the entries for "time" and not "time management," etc. Likewise, input "cat|" to retrieve items about the animal and not items such as catalyst, catcher, or cathedral.

Boolean Searching

When doing a keyword search, words can be combined using logical connectors ("Boolean operators"). The available Boolean operators are:


Use AND to request records that contain both words. Using AND has the effect of narrowing the search. When two terms are entered without any Boolean operator, the library catalog automatically does a phrase search. For example, if "federal government" is entered as a word search, the catalog would search for the phrase "federal government." You would get different search results if you searched "federal" AND "government."

Use OR to request records that contain either word. Using OR has the effect of expanding the search and tends to retrieve more records. For example, if "dogs or cats" is entered as a word search, the library catalog would search for either "dogs" OR "cats" in the keyword indexed fields.

Use NOT before a word or before a phrase enclosed in parentheses to exclude the word or parenthetical expression in keyword indexed fields. The Boolean operator NOT (or NO) applies only to the word or parenthetical expression which immediately follows it.
To exclude more than one word or parenthetical expression, either use parentheses or key NOT before each word to be excluded. For example, if "chess not (checkers or backgammon)" is entered as a word search, it would search for only those records that include "chess" but exclude "checkers" and "backgammon" in the keyword indexed fields. This example could also be entered as "chess not checkers not backgammon".