General Search Strategies
Searching the library catalog with words related to your topic is the most general way to start -- this is called a "keyword search". Keyword searches will give you a mix of books, films, and other materials from the library catalog. Search terms depend greatly on the topic you have in mind and can be manipulated to help narrow your search (see the column to the right for tips on adapting your search terms).
But it's not the only way to search -- A keyword search is a good starting point, but it will yield too many results for most situations. You’ll need to use the "Advanced Search" option or you can select filters (found on the left hand side of the online catalog results page); both the Advanced Search and filters have many more choices for steering your search in a more specific direction.
Additionally, you can further narrow down results by additional search tags, library locations, and types of materials (left side of your screen).
Tip: topic and keyword searches are also useful for finding articles in the library’s online databases.
Specific Search Strategies
Keyword searching vs. Subject searching:
Both Keyword and Subject searches are useful, but they give different results.
There are various other types of searches for when you know some of the information you're looking for, such as the Author's name, or the title of a book. You can narrow your search by subject, author, or title by going to "Advanced Search" and using the drop down tabs next to the search boxes to select the type of search you would like to conduct.
The Meaning of * (Wildcard):
* picks up any character after the end of the typed-in term and is useful for words with many variants. For example, danc* brings up dance, dances, dancing, dancer, dancers, dancer's, dancers', and more variants that may be on a library items' descriptions.
Boolean phrases allow you to modify the relationship between the terms you use in a search. There are three common boolean phrases:
To find fewer results: narrow the search with “and”
To find more: broaden the search with “or”