Searching the catalogue – tips and tricks!

Welcome to all of our new Freshers and to our returning students! We’ve been running induction tours all week and it has been great to meet you all. We showed you how to search the catalogue on the induction tours, but here are some additional tips and tricks which might be handy:

Advanced search

The default search box on the Heritage catalogue is a simple keyword search box. For the vast majority of your searches, a simple keyword search is all you will need. However if you are getting lots of results back, you can use the advanced search function to narrow down your search, so that you don’t have to wade through so many results. Click on the ‘Advanced’ button underneath the search box and you will then be able to choose specific fields to search in.

Advanced search boxYou can add as many lines to your search as you need, so if you were looking for a copy of Kevin and Susan Gray’s Land Law, but only editions published in the last three years, you could do the following search:

Advanced search resultIf you are logged in (you can log in by entering the 5 digit code on the reverse of your University card into the box on the right-hand side of the webpage), you can ‘favourite’ searches, which will save you time if you are regularly going to be doing the same complex search. Just click the ‘Add to favourites’ link on the right-hand side of the page.

Phrase searching

Use quotation marks to search for an exact phrase – e.g. a keyword search for postcolonial literary will bring up all items with the words postcolonial and literary somewhere in the record, regardless of whether the words are next to each other. Searching for “postcolonial literary” will only bring up the items which have these two words next to each other in this order in the record.

Wildcard searching

Use ? where there may be one missing character – e.g. searching colo?r will bring up results for both colour and color.

Use * for a string of missing characters – e.g. searching medic* will bring up results for medic, medical, medicine etc.

We will be blogging regularly throughout the year, sharing more tips on how to make the most of using the Library. If you have discover any useful tricks which you think other students should know about, why not share them in the comments section below?


About homlib

The Library of Homerton College, University of Cambridge.
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