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Dance: More Search Tips

Keyword or Subject Searching: which option to choose and why

Keyword searching vs. subject searching:  In the search box on the library's homepage, type any search term and you have a keyword search. But you may get results that surprise you!  The keyword search "dance" will bring up some results that include the word "dance" but are actually about non-dance topics (for example, the physics book Dance of the Photons, or The Dance of International Diplomacy). A subject search for Dance eliminates such non-dance books from the search results.

Smooth Operators: getting the most from search engines

Use of "AND" and "OR": Use of "AND" combines two important concepts. Using "OR" brings up items containing either of the search terms.

Note: If you put more than 1 word in the search box, the library catalog assumes the "AND" and will look for items that include all your terms.  Also, in our catalog, operators must be capitalized.


1. To find fewer: narrow the search with “AND”  -  Modern AND dance*

2. To find more: broaden the search with “OR”  -  “Martha Graham" OR "modern danc*”

Using " " (Quotation marks)

Putting quotation marks around words tells the system you are looking for that phrase, not the individual words.  A search for "Martha Graham" will find the the phrase, whereas a search for the words Martha Graham will include results for (for example) Martha Franklin and Shirley Graham. It's a way of narrowing your search and getting more relevant results.

The Meaning of * (Wildcard)

* picks up any character after the end of the typed-in term. Very useful for words with many variants. For example danc* brings up dance, dances, dancing, dancer, dancers, dancer's, dancers', and any other variant.