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Dance: 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(s) and you have a keyword search.  But you may get results that surprise you!  The keyword search "dance" will bring up 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.  You can specify a subject search in an Advanced Search.  

Smooth Operators: getting the most from search engines

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

Note:  If you put more than 1 word in the search box, the 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 dance*"

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 that 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 characters after the end of the typed-in term.  Very useful for words with many variants.  For example, Danc* brings up dance, dances, dancing, dancer, and any other variant.