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Last Updated: May 16, 2016 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates
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WILDCARD - An asterisk allows you to search by root word with any ending.  For example, type in the Find box, transcendental*.  You search will include transcendental; transcendentalism; transcendentalist; etc.

CROSS-REFERENCES - There may be more than one way to refer to your topic when you search.  Is there another word for transcendental you could use?  (perhaps: utopianism, idealism, ...)

DESCRIPTORS - You can find information on your topic by researching items that are associated with it.  For example, are there people, places, events, or dates related to your topic?  These may lead you to more (or better) results.  If you look up Emerson, will you be led to information on transcendentalism?  

The descriptor sheet is very helpful in gathering descriptor terms as you go forward.

POWER SEARCH - Boolean searching is when you can search with more than one term at a time.  You connect those terms with an operator.  There are three operators you are allowed to use to connect terms:  and, or, not.  On Destiny, the Boolean searching capability is found in the Power Search (click on the little mini-tab that says Power.

Example:  I can search for Transcendental* OR Utopia* AND Emerson.  That means I am asking for any items that address either Transcendentalism or Utopianism and include Emerson.  

(If you do a search using or as well as and; or goes first in the search.)

SUBJECT VS. KEYWORD: When you search for your topic as a keyword; you may find material that just mentions your topic, but isn't really written about that topic.  By choosing subject, you are asking for items that are about your topic.  If you get too few results on subject search, you can always go back and search by keyword.  Try it both ways and see what happens!

JUMP-OUT TECHNIQUE - If you are having trouble finding any sources because your topic is too limited, or too narrow; try this technique.  Go to the wider subject for your topic and see what comes up.

For example, if I were searching for material on dogs and found little; I could "jump-out" to a broader topic such as pets.  The books on pets might very well include a chapter on dogs.  If I still can't find much, I could try "jumping-out" even further by searching for animals.  

In the case of transcendentalism, you can try jumping-out to a broader term like, philosophy or idealism.  There you may find books that include transcendentalism.

BROWSE TECHNIQUE - If you find a section in the library that has books on or related to your topic, just browse through the books there and see if you can find what you need.  Like subjects are shelved near one another, so once you find a good book, there will likely be others on your topic right in the same section.



1. Use an asterisk* to expand results.

2. Think of other terms that mean the same as your topic and try searching with those.

3.Think of related people, places, events or dates that might lead you to information on the topic.

4. Combine several terms using Boolean operators: and, or, not to find a more focused result.

5. Experiment by searching by keyword and then by subject for more or better results.

6. If your topic is too narrow or too specific, try searching with the broader more general category that includes your topic.

7. Browse the section where books on your topic are located.


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