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Distance Students: Searching the Library Catalog


The catalog is where you can find books, e-books, streaming videos, DVDs, and reserve items that are owned by the McGovern Library.  While you can locate journal articles within the library catalog, the best way to find articles is to go through a library database.

Once you’re inside the catalog, it’s important to sign in so you can access all the functions that it has to offer. To do this, click on the Sign In link in the upper-right corner of the catalog screen.

Simple Search

You can conduct a simple search through the library's homepage search box located just below the navigation tabs.  Once the search button is clicked, you will be redirected into the library's catalog where the search results will be shown. 

Advanced Search

An advanced search allows you to focus your search with additional search terms and limiters.  Go to the Advanced Search for the library catalog by clicking on 'Advanced Search' underneath the search box on the home page. 

Once at the Advanced Search page, type in your search terms and add any limiters. 

Searching and Using Filters

Conducting a Search

Performing a search for items in the catalog can be as simple as typing in keywords related to your search and hitting the search button.

You can also combine keywords in different ways:

  • Typing multiple keywords in a line (marijuana chronic pain) will search for results where all the keywords occur close together.
  • Putting words inside quotation marks (“students in higher education”) will search for results containing an exact phrase.
  • Putting AND between words or phrases (students AND anxiety) will search for results that have both words/phrases in them, no matter how far apart they are.
  • Putting OR between words or phrases (“first-year students” OR “freshman”) will search for results that contain either word or phrase, whether separately or together.
  • Putting NOT before a word (pandemics NOT influenza) will exclude results that contain that word.

Search results will automatically default to materials held by McGovern Library.  To view all possible materials, select "Libraries Worldwide". 

Filtering Results 

If your first search brings back too many results, or your results don’t seem relevant, you can use the filters available on the left side of the screen underneath “Refine This Search”.  These filters hide results that don’t match your selections. The more filters you use, the fewer results you will get, but selecting the right filters can make your results more relevant. Some of the most commonly used filters are explained below.

Held By Library: This field indicates where the material is held at. If the material is not located at McGovern Library, the search will default to Libraries Worldwide. 

Format: There are different types of material format.  The most common are Articles and Books.  To limit to only physical books located within the library, check the box next to 'Print Book'.  To limit only eBooks that are available to read online or download, check the box next to 'eBook'. 

Content Type: There are many types of content, including genres and peer-reviewed materials. 

Publication Year: Publication date limits can be added to narrow and focus search results.  When conducting academic research for current issues, searching the last 5-10 years is recommended. 

Audience: Audience type limits to Juvenile and Non Juvenile materials.  This filter is useful when searching for children's and young adult materials located.


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