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Find Books: Library Catalog

A guide to finding books at Knox. This guide covers the library catalog, I-Share, and Interlibrary Loan (ILLiad)

Search Tips

To search for a phrase, use quotation marks, e.g. "Iraq War"

To search for words with the same root or trunk, use an asterisk * (truncation symbol): romantic* will find "romantic," "romanticism," "romantically," etc.

To combine multiple search terms, use the Boolean operators AND, OR, or NOT:

AND - finds records with all of your search terms

OR - finds records with one term or the other, or both terms

NOT - finds records that include the first term, but not the second

Subject Headings?

Subject headings are like tags -- they are terms that have been assigned to a book to describe what it is about.

Subject headings can help you to pull together the materials on the same topic. A subject search is more precise than a keyword search.

In the library's VuFind catalog, subject headings are called Topics.

Subject Searching

While a keyword search looks for your search terms anywhere in the item record, a subject search looks just in the subject line, so you generally return fewer results. Because subject headings are meant to highlight what a book is about, your results will also tend to be more relevant.

You can perform a subject search from the basic or advanced search in the library catalog by choosing "subject" from the drop-down menu. This search will look for your term anywhere in the subject line of the record.

Subject searching can be tricky because subject headings are pre-defined. That means that unless you know a particular subject heading, you may not find what you're looking for.

 Finding subject headings: VuFind Catalog

There are a couple of ways to determine what subject headings are actually used. One way is to browse the headings assigned to a book you've already found (remember, in the VuFind catalog, subject headings are called Topics). Each heading is a link and can be clicked to perform a new subject search. Some headings are made of combinations of words, so clicking on the last word in a combined heading will search for the full combination.

Finding Subject Headings: Classic Catalog

The library's classic search allows you to browse an alphabetical listing of subject headings. When you search for a subject heading in this catalog, it will provide you a list based on your search term. Note that this search will show you a listing based on your search term as the first word in a heading; it will not show results where your term may be included, but not as the first term.

Here's the result list you get if you do a subject search for "Dance" in the classic catalog:

Clicking See Also will provide you with related terms you may wish to search. To view the titles with a particular subject heading, click either the heading or the number in the Number of Titles column.

You can scroll through this listing of subject headings to find those that best apply to your research topic.