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Arkansas State University

Library Catalog: Advanced Keyword Search

Use this guide to learn how to find books, magazines, dvds, pretty much anything using the Library Catalog.

Advanced Keyword Search

An Advanced Keyword Search finds records using keywords located anywhere in a record, or only in specific fields. With an Advanced Keyword Search, you have more options than in a basic search.

1.  To perform a keyword search, you must click on the "Advanced" tab above the search box.

2. Type in the search term(s) you want to find in the search box.  Don't use articles (a, an, the) at the beginning of titles.  Punctuation, case and word order are ignored.

3. Default search criteria can be modified for your search:

            a. Select from the drop-down list whether you want to search for all the search terms, any of the
               search terms, or the search term as a phrase.

            b. Narrow your search by selecting with field to search within (i.e. keyword, title, author)

            c. Select which Boolean operator you want applied to the next search term(s): AND, OR, NOT.

4. Choose other search criteria to limit your search.  Each additional search criteria has a drop down menu with options to choose from.

5. Click the Search button to begin your search. 

Advanced Search

Boolean Connectors

In 3c above, you have the option to select AND, OR, NOT between your search terms. These connectors are called Boolean and they are very powerful for expanding and narrowing your search. Let's see how each works:



AND is the connector that tells the software to only search for items that contain all the connected terms. For example, zombies movie would search for either word or both - meaning I would get every book about movies, not just zombie movies, and every book about zombies, not just zombie movies. However, zombies AND movie would only find resources that contain both words - meaning, just zombie movies. This search will give you smaller number of results, but they will be much more relevant to your topic.



OR is a great way to expand your search and search for multiple similar words at once. For example, some people may write about zombies while other about undead. OR let's me search all the variations at one time without having to different searches for each keyword: zombies OR undead OR "walking dead".



NOT allows you to exclude terms you don't want. For example let's say I want to write about zombies, but I don't want zombie movies. NOT allows me to exclude "movies" and focus my search in other areas: zombies NOT movies.