Search Tips and Tricks

There are many ways to search the Ann Arbor District Library catalog. In addition to the refining options in the right side bar, your search can be made more specific with special punctuation used directly in the search box.

Default Search Behavior

By default the catalog searches keywords through the entire record, regardless of order, capitalization, or commas and periods. So the search james patterson will return the same results as Patterson, James. although they are ordered and capitalized differently.

Searches with multiple words are interpreted with an AND in between each term: both words will appear in the record, but not necessarily next to each other. The results of the search james patterson will include the audio-book "Eclipse" by Richard North Patterson, because it is read by Peter Francis James.

Exact Phrases

To search for an exact phrase it should be wrapped by quotations like this:
"last song." vs last song
"white queen" vs white queen

Specific Fields

To search in specific fields use the 'at' symbol (@) and the name of the respective field like this:
@author kings @title night
@author kennedy @subjects biography @pubyear 2009
@publisher kranky

Common fields are title, author, subjects, publisher, callnum (call number) and pubyear (publication year). There should be no space between the @ and field name.

Beginning and Ending Modifiers

To make your search require a word or letter be at the beginning or end of a field use the ^ (beginning) and $ (end) characters like this:

@title ^H* @callnum ^E
@title ^And
@title ^90 love$

Not

To exclude certain terms from a search use an exclamation point (!) or a dash (-) like this:
vampires !Rice.

This search will return a list of items with the term vampires, but not Rice, which would be perfect for finding books about vampires if you've read all the Anne Rice books.

Or

To broaden a search with the OR concept use the pipe (|) symbol or a capitalized OR like this:
"hamilton laurell" | "rice, anne"
cats OR dogs

Truncation

To search for multiple forms of a word use an asterisk (*) like this:
run* will return results including the words runner, runelords, runaway, running, runway, etc., as well as run.
wom* will return results including the words woman, women, woman's, women's and womb.