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Advanced search

Learn how to perform an advanced search in CatExpress.

Advanced searching

Advanced searching allows you to search more indexes and lets you search for multiple terms. Always limit your search to increase precision. All means no limit has been chosen.


  • For a full explanation of searching WorldCat indexes, with labels and lists of fields and subfields indexed, see Searching WorldCat Indexes.
  • OCLC recommends that you drop with and within when searching for a title.

How to search

  1. Type one or more search terms in the first Search for box. You can combine them using And, Or, Not.
  2. From the list to the right of the Search for box, select the index in which you expect to find your terms.
  3. Enter search terms in the second or third Search for box if needed.
  4. Select indexes appropriate for any search terms you entered in the second or third Search for box.
  5. Select an operator (AndOrNot) to combine the search terms entered in the second or third boxes.
  6. Select Automatic Sort options (author, title, or date) in the order you want the Search Results sorted. If you select more than one sort option, your results are sorted by the option in the top list, then by the option in the middle one, and last by the option in the bottom one.
  7. To Limit Search by Date, see the next section.
  8. To limit results to records in your preferred language of cataloging, use the Apply Language of Cataloging Limiter check box (directly below the search entry area). Click to select the check box and then choose one of 11 languages from the list.
  9. Select Limit Search by Record Format to limit results by type of material.
  10. Select Limit Search by Language if you want to retrieve only records for items in a specific language.
  11. Select Limit Search by Internet to specify whether you want to retrieve records for Internet resources.
  12. (Optional). Click Clear Search to clear everything you have typed or selected.
  13. Click the Search button.

Limit searches by date (year of publication)

To search for Type Example Result
A specific year The year 1994 Retrieves items published in year typed.
Items within a decade The millennium, century, decade and question mark 199? Retrieves items published in decade
Items after a certain date Start date and hyphen 1994- Retrieves items published in year typed in addition to those published after it
Items before a certain date Hyphen and end date -1994 Retrieves items published in year typed in addition to those published before it
Items within a date range Start date, hyphen, and end date 1994-1997 Retrieves items published in both years and all intervening years

Tips for selecting indexes

To select an index from the list, type the first letter of the name of the index you want. When multiple index names start with the same letter, press that letter key until the one you want appears.

Example. Selecting the Government Document Number index:

  1. Click in the list to highlight it.
  2. Press <G> once and Genre/Form displays.
  3. Press <G> again and GovDoc Number appears.

Searching Dewey, LC, and NLM call numbers

When you search for Dewey Decimal, Library of Congress, and National Library of Medicine call numbers, make sure to:

  • Include decimal points
  • Delete all other punctuation
  • Delete spaces

 Note: The system searches for these numbers in the subfield $a portion of the 050, 060, 082, 090, 092, 096 fields.

Example. To search for Library of Congress call number (lc:) M357.4, type: m357.4

Retained searches

Everything you have typed or selected when searching is retained until you change it. This allows you to correct or refine searches.

Clear searches

Click Clear Search to clear either the last search or everything you have typed or selected.

Searching with index labels

Each search type has a 2-letter index label. You can type the label, including a colon (an equal sign for the Title Phrase index ti=) before your search term or select the desired index from the list. Do not type a space between the colon (or equal sign) and the search term. If you type an index label preceding a term, CatExpress ignores the index name selected in the list.

Example. bn:: is the index label for the ISBN search.

Search Result
bn:0061057320  Bibliographic record for Black Light by Elizabeth Hand

You must type the index labels in lowercase letters. You can type search terms in upper or lowercase letters, or a combination. Below is a list of all index labels for CatExpress advanced searches. Some searches are narrower than others, resulting in fewer matches. Where there are 2 labels, the narrower search appears first.

List of index labels

Index Index label
Corporate/Conference Name
Dewey Call Number
Gov Doc Number
LC Call Number
LC Control Number
Publisher Number
NLM Call Number
OCLC Number
Personal Name
Publication Location
Report Number
Series Name
Standard Number
Subject Words
Title Phrase
Uniform Title
bn: or sn:
in: or sn:
ln: or sn:
nt: or kw:
pn: or au:
su: or kw:

Searching for hyphenated terms

The way you search for hyphenated terms depends on the index you are searching. The table below describes how to search for hyphenated terms.

Index Search
Title ( ti:)
Notes ( nt:)
Subject Words ( su:)
with the hyphen, as one word
without the hyphen, as separate words
All other indexes with the hyphen, as one word

Hyphenated search examples

To search for In index Type
Ben-Gurion Title ( ti:) ben-gurion 
ben gurion 
Wolf-Ferrari Notes ( nt:) wolf-ferrari 
wolf ferrari 
Abderdeen-Angus Subject Words ( su:) aberdeen-angus 
aberdeen angus 
Baskin-Robbins Publisher ( pb:) baskin-robbins