Catalog Help

The Library Catalog is used to search for books, journal titles (not individual journal articles), films, art, and other materials. You may conduct a search by using the pull-down menu, or using the links to title, author, subject, etc. Novice users may benefit from using the links because relevant search tips are provided on each search screen. If you need additional assistance, please contact Library Reference or call the reference desk at (212)769-5400.

Searching Basics

Below are basic explanations for the following types of searches: Title, Author, Subject, Call No., ISBN/ISSN, and Keyword.

For title searches, type in the first word of the title (excluding "a," "an," or "the") and as many subsequent words as you like (in the exact order that they appear in the title). For example:
·american museum novitates
·journal of the american
·national geo
To search for one-word Journal titles (i.e. Nature, Science) insert a pipe after the title:

Type the person's name, last name first. You may also type the name of an organization or governmental body. For example:
·mead, marg
·central asiatic exped

Use Library of Congress subject headings. If you are not sure what subject heading to use, ask Reference Staff to show you how to use the multivolume set: Library of Congress Subject Headings. Or, read more about subject searching from the Library of Congress website. For example:
·natural history periodic
·mammals africa
·audubon, j

If your subject search is unsuccessful, the catalog gives you the option to "search as words."

Library of Congress (LC) Call Number
To browse, conduct a search by typing as much of the Library of Congress Call Number as you want. If you want to find a specific volume, you may have to enter the entire call number. For example:
More information about the structure of the LC call number is available on our Understanding LC Call Numbers page.

Standard Number (ISBN/ISSN)
To find a specific title, type in the entire number; you may omit hyphens.

There are two types of keyword searches: advanced and simple. The advanced search allows you to limit your search by language, material type, book or serial, location within the library, and publication date. The simple keyword search does not have these limits. Keyword searches utilize phrase searching, truncation, Boolean operators, proximity, and allow you to search within specific fields.

Multiple keywords
Multiple words are automatically combined using AND. For example, a search for birds asia will default to birds AND asia. Type in as many words as you like:
·spain paleontology cretaceous
·ants congo wheeler classification

Phrase searching
If you want to search for an exact phrase, use double quotes:
·"human genome"
·"New York City"

Words can be right truncated using an asterisk. Use one asterisk (*) to truncate up to five characters. Use two asterisks (**) to truncate more than five characters.

Boolean Operators
All multiple keyword searches are automatically combined using AND. Use OR to expand your search and retrieve more records. Use AND NOT to exclude words. Use parentheses to group words together. For example:
·snakes texas (defaults to: snakes AND texas)
·moths OR butterflies
·(darwin OR galapagos) OR (beagle AND explor*)
·dinosaurs AND NOT juvenile

Use “near” to specify words close to each other in any order. Use "within #" to specify words within # words of each other in the catalog record. For example:
· wildlife near conservation
· poison* within 3 snake*Fields
Specify fields to search, using field abbreviations. Fields available for this catalog are a: (author), t: (title), s: (subject), and n: (note). For example, to do an author/title search for Audubon's Birds of America, type
· (a:audubon) and (t:birds) and (t:america)

Use of Buttons


Displays author, call no., location, and availability of each title.


Runs a new search in the same index.


Provides the option to limit a search by location, publication date, language, material type, publisher, and words in title.


Runs a keyword search.


Shows record in MAchine Readable Cataloging format.


Allows you to see the previous record in your results list.


Allows you to see the next record in your results list.


Shows you the list of titles in your results list.

Marking and Exporting Records

Marking and exporting lets you save search results to a flash drive, e-mail them to yourself, or put them in a citation- or printer-friendly format. To save records for export, check the boxes next to each title that you wish to save. To save all on screen, click the Save All on Page button.

1. Conduct a search.
2. Mark the records you want to export using the box to the left of the title. As you scroll through and mark each page of records you must click on the grey button at the bottom that says "Save Marked Records." Do not advance to the next page without clicking on "Save Marked Records" or the records on that page will not be saved.
3. When finished, Click on the  export_multi.gif button.
4. Choose the format you want, and where to send list for exporting.
5. Click the "Submit" button; when you're done click clear_marked.gif

Viewing Your Loans

Please contact Library Reference or call the reference desk at (212)769-5400. 

Featured Lists (New Titles)

Featured lists display catalog records in browsable lists. For example, all books put out in the Current Literature room are compiled monthly in featured lists. Other featured lists include Electronic Journals, GIS Materials, and books in the Digital Library collection.
Library of Congress Call Numbers.