SEARCH TIPSTwo search menus are available on the site: the Quick Search menu & the Advanced Search menu, both always available from the left-hand side of the screen.
When using either menu, keep in mind that less is more. The fewer search terms you enter, the more results will be returned; conversely, the more search terms you enter, the fewer results will be returned -- this is because the search engine looks for all of the terms you enter.
The only exception to this is the Any Word search on the Quick Search menu, which looks for any of the words you enter – see below for more on this.
The search engine looks for entire words only -- no Boolean operators are allowed at present. So spell out the entire word, for example, search for “psychology”, not “psych”.
- for Author searches, enter the last name only (unless it’s a common last name)
- for Title searches, don’t include the subtitle (unless the title is rather generic)
- for ISBN searches, don’t include the dashes in the number
- for Keyword searches by subject matter, see below for tips on using the Advanced Search menu's Keyword Search.
QUICK SEARCH MENUThe Quick Search menu is best for Author and/or Title searches, as well as searching for the occurrence of Any Word that might occur in a given book listing (including an ISBN). The Any Word search option performs an ‘OR’ search: that is, if you enter more than 1 word, the search engine will return book listings containing the first word OR the second word OR the third word, and so on.
The Any Word search on the Quick Search MenuThis can be a very powerful tool. It searches all the information included for each book -- author, title, publisher, edition, keywords & ISBN. Sometimes this is good, sometimes it’s not. For example, if you’re looking for books on Ohio, doing an Any Word search for “Ohio” will show you books about Ohio, but also books published in Ohio … which you might not want. (To find only books about Ohio, use the Advanced Search menu to do a Keyword search instead -- see more below.)
On the positive side, if you enter more than 1 word to search for, the Any Word search looks for the first word OR the second word OR the third word that you’ve entered. This means you can use this search option to string together all the possible forms of a word you want to search for. When searching by subject matter, for example:
- try both the singular and the plural of the word, for example, both “railroad” and “railroads”
- try all the variations for some subject matter, for example, “England” as well as “English” and “British”; or “Medicine” as well as “Medical”; or “railroad” and “railroads” and “railways”
- in these examples, you would do an Any Word search on the Quick Search menu for “railroad railroads railways”, or “medicine medical”. The search engine will look for the first word OR the second word OR …
ADVANCED SEARCHThe Advanced Search offers everything the Quick Search does, except an Any Word search (see above).
- You can search for additional features of a book, & sort the results by author, title or price.
- You can search by Keywords for a string of several words (for example, "Ohio History")
- The Keywords search option does an "AND" search, finding all books with the first word AND the second word AND the third word, and so on.
The Keyword search on the Advanced Search MenuWe include extensive Keywords with each of our book listings to aid in searching by subject matter.
What are Keywords? Think of them like the subject areas you'd look for if you walked into a used bookshop & wanted to find your area of interest: English History, 19th century? Chemistry? Medieval History? Electrical Engineering? Medicine, History of Medicine, Biotechnology? US Regional History, Tennessee?
We also include more specific Keywords for our books, besides the general subject matter. For example, a book on the Genealogy of the Fraser family would include the subject word "Genealogy", but also the specific term "Fraser".
This makes Keyword searches more effective than Category browsing. Aside from just browsing our site by the pre-made Categories, when you search by Keywords, you can work your way down toward more & more specific topics. If you see an interesting book, click on its detailed description page to view its Keywords (for technical reasons, they're listed in alphabetical order, but should still give a general idea) -- then you can search for similar Keywords.
Contact UsThe Keywords we use can sometimes be very detailed, so if you're interested in specific subject matter, please email or phone us to ask what Keywords we might be using for your area of interest. We'll be able to help you view a list our holdings in that area.