Whether you are doing a title, author, or subject search, it is important to understand how eCatalog processes your search. Sometimes you may get lucky and retrieve the results you are looking for without giving much thought to fields and search options. Successful searching, though, takes a little practice. Keep in mind the search hints found in previous pages and read over the tips below. Also see the Library Tutorial for eCatalog.


In general

Keep it simple. Unless you know specific information about your source, start with a basic keyword search. You can narrow it down later. Try related words and synonyms if your keyword search isn't bringing up results.

Search by


To find a specific book when you are sure of the title, do an Exact search then click on title.

if you know some words in the title, but aren't sure of the exact title, do a Keyword search and click on title.

If you are sure of the first word of the title (ignoring articles), it works well to use the Browse option and title field.

Search by


To locate books by a specific author, mark the Exact or Browse option, entering in the author's last name then click on author button.

If it is a common last name and you know both the first and last name, type them both in the box, last name first, to focus your search on the specific author you need.

Search by



Don't do an exact subject search unless you know the exact Library of Congress subject term, but you can try a Keyword search in the subject field if you think your search term is likely part of the official Library of Congress subject heading.  Otherwise, try the Browse or Keyword option in the words or phrases field.

Once you have found a relevant book, you can find more books on the same subject by clicking on the book title, then clicking on the Catalog Record link. There you will find the official Library of Congress subject term or terms; click on one of these to find more books on that subject.

Other tips

Use the symbol $ after the root of a word to find all forms of it, including plural.

Make use of the Xref (cross references) and Try these too features in eCatalog.

If your search is retrieving too many, or irrelevant results, focus it through an Advanced Search.

Hint. Searching often involves some trial and error. Don't be discouraged if you do not retrieve results on your first attempt.