Limit, Nesting, Phrase, Punctuation, Substitution, Truncation


Boolean Searching: AND - OR - NOT

BOOLEAN Operators enable you to narrow or expand your Keyword results. They are found in the pulldown menu on the right side of the Advanced Search page. Use them in a Quick Search by typing the operator into the search field.

  • AND — Narrows the terms you use must both occur in the same work, although they can occur in different fields (such as in Author and Subject fields).
  • OR — Expands the terms you use can occur in the same or different works
  • NOT — Narrows discards any record containing the NOT word you specify.


Limit Search

The Limit option allows you to restrict your search to particular set criteria that you specify - such as date, language, where it is located, or what type of thing (material) it is.

Use Limit when you get too many results, or find many of your results to be irrelevant due to age, language, location, or type.

Select the Advanced Search option from the "Other Searches" box on the right side of the screen. Below the "Search" and "Reset" buttons you should see the list of dropdown Limit options. Select the appropriate option(s) from the dropdown menu and click "Search."



Nesting is a keyword searching technique that utilizes parentheses to clarify relationships between search terms. Using Nesting in your search requires that the items in parentheses be searched first. Generally the items in parentheses are linked by the Boolean Operator "OR."

Use Nesting when you are trying to link two or more concepts that may have many synonyms, or may be represented by a number of different terms to obtain more comprehensive search results.

Select the Advanced Search option from the "Other Searches" box on the right side of the initial search screen. Select the desired search from the dropdown menu, and type in your search terms.

Example: Using (Iraq OR Kuwait) AND oil will search Iraq or Kuwait first


Phrase Searching

Phrase Searching is a search technique that ensures that you will retrieve your search terms next to each other in the order you typed them.

Select the "keyword" option from the Quick Search page, or select Advanced Search from the box on the right side of the screen. Type in the phrase you wish to search, and enclose it in single quotation marks.

Use Phrase Searching when you are trying to link two or more common words that may that have different meanings when separated.


  • A search for romance language (without quotes) retrieved 609 results
  • A search for 'romance language' (with single quotes) retrieved 56 results


When you include punctuation in your search,The CAT does one of the following: ignores it, supplies spaces, or replaces it with a word variation of the punctuation you used.

If you want to include the punctuation mark as a literal character, you must enclose it in double quotation marks.


Using punctuation in searches
What you type CAT uses What happens
cat & dog cat dog
cat and dog
Punctuation is Ignored
Punctuation is Replaced
cat "&" dog cat & dog Literal (Punctuation included in search
because double quotes are included)
CAB/CAIN -or- CAB Cain CAB/CAIN Space is supplied

More about using punctuation in your search.



A Question Mark in The CAT is used as the wildcard character to substitute for a single character in a keyword search.

Use substitution when you are unsure of a spelling or when you want to find two forms of one word.

Example: typing wom?n will search woman or women


Truncation is a keyword searching technique that allows you to search for documents containing variations on a search term. To execute a truncation search, type the first few letters (stem) of the keyword followed by wildcard symbol. The CAT uses a "$" as the wildcard. The "$" can represent a single character, many characters, or no characters.

Use truncation when your search yields no or too few results, or if you want to conduct a more comprehensive search.

Select the Advanced Search from the Other Searches box at the right side of the screen. Select your search type from one of the dropdown menus (author, title, LC Subj, etc.) and enter your terms.

Example: typing librar$ will search for librarian, librarianship, library, libraries


More Advanced Searching Options