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Discovery Guide

Advanced Search

Advanced Searching

By default, Discovery searches, a growing catalog of millions of records from libraries across the globe. You can expand or narrow these search results by adding or removing specific databases in Advanced Search. You can add or remove specific databases from your searches by clicking on the "Search Everything" drop down menu and checking off the boxes next to your selections.

Search for Exact Title or Phrase

  • Use quotation marks around your keywords.

Author Searching

When searching by author, search by "last name, first name" or "first name, last name."


  • Steinbeck, John
  • Dorothy Sayers


By default, Discovery automatically ANDS your terms and searches for records that contain all of the terms in your search. Boolean operators should always be entered in ALL CAPS.


Operator Search Example Finds...
+ women + work + 20th century

Records that contain the words women, work, and 20th century.


AND women AND work AND 20th century

Same as the +; finds records that contain the words women, work, and 20th century.


OR nutrition OR "food science"

Records that include the word nutrition OR the phrase "food science." The OR operator is used to expand your search results.


NOT paris NOT fashion

Records that have the term "paris" but not "fashion". Used to exclude a term from your search results.


- paris - fashion Same as NOT. Finds records that have the term "paris" but not "fashion".


Discovery does not automatically search for plurals or alternate endings. To make a search more comprehensive, truncate words using an *asterisk* . This technique allows you to find any word beginning with a designated root word.


  • garden* finds:  "garden," "gardens," "gardening," etc:


By nesting, you can group like words together in a way that makes sense to Discovery.


  • (botany OR "plant biology") AND history
    This search will find records with the words "botany" and "history" or records with the words "plant biology" and "history."

  • (food OR garden) AND world war i
    This search is similar to the above, so will find records with either of the words "food" or "garden" and the phrase "world war i"

  • dog(walking or feeding or grooming)
    This search will find listings on dog walking or dog feeding or dog grooming.


Codes for Complex Searches in Discovery

If you're up for it, you can take advantage of these codes when searching in Discovery. These can be used directly in the Discovery search box on our homepage.

Below are some of the more common codes with search examples. You can view a complete list here.

Name/Author-- au:twain mark

Title--  ti:adventures of huckleberry finn

Keyword --kw:water buffalo

Library of Congress Subject Heading -- hl:washington state

Subject -- su:washington state [this search yields more results than "hl: washington state"]

Year -- yr:1957

Language -- ln:french

Format/Document Type -- dt:[Use the following codes for types of formats]:

bks -- books

ser -- journal, magazine titles

com -- computer files/interactive multimedia

map -- maps

rec -- sound recordings, music cd's

sco -- musical scores

vis -- visual materials, movies, etc

ISBN -- bn: [use the ten or thirteen digit ISBN here]

ISSN -- issn: [enter the eight digit ISSN here]

Publisher -- pb: Farrar Straus Giroux

Publisher Location -- pl: London

Geographic Coverage -- gc: senegal