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Library Orientation for Students: Searching

Search Terms

Develop a research strategy.

  •  Think about your research question/topic. 

An example: Why do Muslim women in Turkey wear a veil? 
When searching in WorldCat Discovery, try several searches using terms like:

  • Women and Islam
  • Women and Veil
  • Turkey Women
  • Turkey Muslim Veil


  • Review the search results.  There will be e-books and articles; and print books in the list.  Note shelf numbers of physical books.
  • Take time to locate print books and look for other books nearby.
  • Check the index and table of contents of e-books and print books.
    You may not have time to, or want to, read the entire book. However, there may be a great chapter on your topic or just a few pages.


Basic Searching

By default, a basic search is a "keyword" search.  After entering a search term, click the "Search" button or click "Enter" on your keyboard.

Expert searching

Expert searches (ones that contain index labels and Boolean operators) can be entered in any search box, including the search boxes on the Advanced Search screen.  

Please noted: If you use an index label for one search term in the box, you must use index labels for all search terms. Otherwise  those without labels will be treated as keyword.  

Some of the more useful labels include:  (using the : makes it a word search, so any word that matches in the field will result in a hit; using an = creates a phrase search so the words must be in that order to result in a hit)

Author (word) au:  au:Shakespeare formats: last name or first name
Author (phrase)  au=  au=Shakespeare, William formats: Last name, first name
Genre Form (word) ge: ge: novel  
Publisher (word) pb: pb: vintage  
Publisher (phrase pb= pb= vintage books searches for the complete phrase
Title (word) ti: ti: existentialism will return titles with existentialism
Title (phrase) ti= ti=canterbury tales omit initial articles(a, an, the).  returns items with complete phrase
Year yr:



See the Searching WorldCat: Index Quick Reference pdf below for a complete listing of labels.

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