You can use Boolean Operators (and, not, or) to customize your results. Which is extremely helpful! But if a title begins with one of those operators - like Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None - you'll get this:
But putting the title in quotes will get you results.
One-word titles can also make things difficult. (Jonathan Kellerman, I'm looking at you.) Since I'm picking on poor Mr. Kellerman, we'll use his book Mystery as an example. When you do the default keyword search for Mystery you get 10,534 titles. That's ten-thousand. Changing your search from a keyword to a title search gets you 3,876. But we can do better. Because we have Power Search!
Power Search is an advanced searching tool that will let you use multiple criteria. In this case, searching for the author (last name first!) and title will greatly improve your results:
But what if you need to get really specific? Say, you need a picture book about George Washington for a small child. You can specify the area of the library that you want the results to come from!
In this case, you would click on Power Search and type Washington, George into the subject field. Below that, you should see a series of drop-down menus.
It can be tricky at first to know what each field is and which one(s) to use. Some of them are more helpful than others.
- Library relates to the branch that owns the item. Specifying this is helpful if you don't have time to wait for a hold to be transferred to your preferred branch. Otherwise, leaving this as ALL will get you more complete results.
- Language relates to the language the book is written in or, in the case of audio-visual items, what languages the audio track and/or subtitles are in. This is most helpful, obviously, if you're looking for an item in a specific language, but it not necessary to use if your preferred language is English.
- Format is a fun one. You can choose to only get results that are books, or DVDs. At the time of this writing, there wasn't an audiobook option, but there is a way!
- And that way is Type! Not all of the possible choices under Type will give you results. Audio Books and New Books, for example. Choosing Book, Compact Disc, Books on CD, DVD, or Paperback Books will result in those kind of items.
- Location relates to where the item lives in the library. Like Type, not all of the possible choices will yield results. LPLS uses FIC (for adult fiction), LG-PRINT, NONFIC (for adult nonfiction), REF, HIST-REF, JUV (for children's chapter books and nonfiction), EASY (for children's picture books), AUDIOBOOK, AV, AV-JUV, DVD-FIC, and DVD-NF. Some of the audiovisual criteria has changed over the years, so try using multiple searches for a more comprehensive result.
- Item Category 1 is related to location. For example, if you use JUV in the location field, you can use FICTION in Item Category 1 to get results that are only children's chapter books. In my opinion, this is the best use of this menu. Other choices, such as genre for adult fiction, are very subjective and might limit your results too much.
- Item Category 2 will let you specify the basic age level of an item. Adult, Juvenile and YA. If an item was acquired with state or federal funds, this is also indicated in this field with an HRL or SRL in front of the age category. If you use Item Category 2, multiple searches might be required for comprehensive results.
- If you're looking for a specific edition, you can also specify pub year.
- You can choose how the catalog sorts your results. (If there is a large number of items sorting may not be available.)
- And, finally, you can use the drop-down menus to just browse the collection. Leave the search fields empty, choose any combination from the menu(s) and click the Search button.
Changing EASY to JUV will get you fiction and nonfiction for older children.
I hope you found this helpful! If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment or give us a call at any branch. We're always happy to assist!