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Search WebDewey

Learn how to perform a basic, advanced, and power search in WebDewey.

Basic search

Use basic search to find a term anywhere in the WebDewey database.

  1. On the Opening screen, enter one or more terms (words or numbers) in the search box.
    On any screen, click Search to return to the Opening screen and enter one or more terms (words or numbers) in the search box.

    When entering multiple terms, spaces are treated as and operators. The search retrieves records that contain all terms.
  2. Click Search or press <Enter>.

Advanced search

Use advanced search to select an index to focus on specific database fields.

  1. On any screen, click Advanced Search.
  2. Enter one or more terms (words or numbers) in one or more boxes. For each term, select the index to search from index drop-down list.
    • Multiple terms, one index. To search for two or more terms in the same index, enter the terms in one text box and select an index. Spaces between words are treated as and operators; you can also combine terms with or and/or exclude terms with not.
    • Multiple terms, multiple indexes. To search for two or more terms in different indexes, select the Boolean operator(s) with which to combine the term(s). Select an operator from the Boolean operators drop-down list.
  3. (Optional) Select the Retain Search check box to preserve the search terms, selected indexes, and selected operators for reuse.
  4. Click Search or press <Enter>.

Power searching using command syntax

Use power search to construct a one-line search statement, specifying multiple indexes, Boolean operators, and other advanced features.

In search commands, you must identify indexes by entering index labels. The list of search indexes gives the label for each index.

  1. On any screen, click Search or Advanced Search.
  2. From the Basic Search screen, enter a search command using the required syntax to specify indexes, terms, and operators.
     Note: The All Fields index is selected by default for Basic searches.
  3. From the Advanced Search screen:
    1. In the first form field, select All Fields from the index drop-down list. 
    2. Enter a search command using the required syntax to specify indexes, terms, and operators.
    Command syntax
    • Rules: Precede each term with a two-letter index label and colon. No space before or after the colon (:). Spaces between index label/term pairs and Boolean operators.
    • Pattern: index label[:]term[space][and/or/not][space]index label[:]term
    • Examples:
      • cp:celtic and cp:religion
      • hb:antiques not cp:dolls
      • ri:cats or dn:636.8
  4. Click Search or press <Enter>.

Expand terms to include variant forms or related concepts

Option Description
Truncation Use truncation to expand a term to include variant endings or to search for both singular and plural forms (e.g., dog and dogs. Or use truncation when you know only part of a term. Truncation is useful when searching for a DDC number, a word, or a multiword term.
  • Right truncation. Enter the first characters of the word or the first part of the number (include as many letters/digits as you know); then type an asterisk (*). Examples: 610*, librar*, comput*, war*, catalog*
  • Left truncation. Enter an asterisk (*) and then type the last part of the term. Examples: *073, *crime, *net
Character masking
(wildcard symbols)
Use character masking (wildcards) to expand a term to include variant spellings or when you are unsure of the correct spelling for part of a term.

Enter a question mark (?) or a number sign (#) in place of the character(s) you want to mask.
  • Use the question mark to retrieve variants of 0 or more characters. Examples: col?r retrieves color or colour; int?net retrieves internet or intranet.
  • Use the number sign to retrieve variants of exactly 1 character. Example: wom#n retrieves both woman and women.

Combine terms with Boolean operators

Combine Example Retrieves
Multiple terms, all terms required (AND) transportation safety

(A space between terms is treated as and.)
Records that contain both words in fields included in the specified index
Multiple terms, at least one term required (OR) radiography or radiology Records that contain either word or both words in fields included in the specified index
One or more terms that must not be found (NOT) college education not secondary Records that contain both college and education, but do not contain secondary, in fields covered by the specified index
One or more groups of terms combined with other terms (parentheses) (college or university) graduate Records that contain graduate and either college or university in fields covered by the specified index
Two terms in different indexes; both terms required (AND) food [All Fields] and 613* [Dewey Numbers] Records that contain food (in any field) and 613* in a field covered by the Dewey Numbers index
Multiple terms in different indexes; at least one term required (OR) food [All Fields] or 613* [Dewey Numbers] Records that contain at least 1 of the combined terms in the field(s) specified for that term; records can contain either term or both terms
Multiple terms in different indexes, one of which must not occur in the retrieved records (NOT) food [All Fields] or 613* [Dewey Numbers] not supply [All Fields] Records that do not contain the term that follows NOT in the field(s) specified

Characters to omit from searches

The following characters and symbols appear in search results and/or WebDewey records as part of a class number, caption, or other text. They are not included in any index. Omit these characters from search terms.

Characters to omit Example Purpose of characters
Square brackets in class numbers [207] Indicates a number that has been discontinued or relocated, or an unassigned number.
Parentheses in class numbers (789) Indicate a class number that is an optional alternative to the number usually assigned to a concept.
Diacritics Provençal

Omit cedilla when searching: Provencal
Indicate pronunciation of non-English words.
Asterisk (*), dagger (†), and/or double dagger (‡) in captions *Administration of general forms of control

†Latin dramatic poetry and drama

‡*Visual programming
Indicate that a record contains a footnote marked with that symbol.
Slash (/) in segmented class numbers or phrases 004./03

Show segmentation of number

Punctuate term
C preceding class number (search results) C 560-590 Indicates a record for a centered entry--a concept covered by a span of numbers.
M preceding class number (search results) M 005.369 Indicates a record for an entry in the DDC Manual.
B preceding class number (search results) B 942.06 Indicates a record for a built number: a number constructed according to add instructions stated or implied in the schedules or tables.


The following common words are omitted from all WebDewey indexes. The system ignores these words if you include them in a query.

a an and as at
be by for from in
is of on that the
to with      


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