Search Tips

There are two search engines you can use to search books, articles and library resources. The "Basic" Search engine is available on the library homepage. You will also find the Basic Search in the ASA Catalog. The second search engine, Advanced Search, can be accessed by using the Advanced Search link in both places. Below is documentation about both the Basic and Advanced search screens so you can compare their capabilities.

Search Operators List

Certain letters and symbols represent new functions when typed into a search field.

Search Operators will work in Basic and Advanced Searches.

Wildcard, single character: ?

literat? will search “literate” and “literati”

wom?n will search “woman” and “women”

Wildcard, multi-character: *

test* will search “tests” “testers” “testing”, and more

col*r will search “color”, “colour”, "collaborator", and more

Phrase searching

Use quotation marks (“ “) to make sure a phrase appears in the results, with both terms beside each other in the specified order: “exchange rate”.

Alternate Spellings: ~

Add the tilde ~ at the end of a single word term to search multiple spellings of that word.

Tchaikovsky~ may also return a result that spells it Tchaikowsky

color~ will also return results that have colour

Proximity between words: ~

Add the tilde ~ to a multiple word term to define how close the two words should appear in the record. Add an integer after the tilde to define how many words at most are in between your terms.

Example: “boys hood”~2 will return results such as “boys in the hood”, where boys and hood are at most 2 words (in the) apart

Priority Searching

Add priority to a term by using the operator: ^

Example: girl OR scout^5

will tend to search any record that contains girl or scout (and both girl and scout), but records that contain only scout will appear first in your result list. Use an integer from 1 to 10 to increase priority. If only using one priority term, we suggest using 5. If you are adding priority to multiple terms, keep in mind the relative scale: bigger numbers are higher priority.

Ranged Searches: [ TO ] and { TO }

To search a date range, enter your date in brackets [ ]

Example: [1980 TO 1982] will search for all dates including 1980, 1981, 1982

To search for words that begin with a certain letter, use the curly bracket { }

Example: {A TO C} will search any term that begins with A, B, or C