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Library Catalog: Searching the Catalog

The Library Catalog

The Hekman Library Catalog is a searchable database of all of the materials owned by the Hekman Library, including books, e-books, journals, periodicals, CDs, DVDs, microfilm, and more. 

Tips for Better Keyword Searching

1. Search terms are searched separately unless they have quotations around them. To search for the phrase radical feminism, enter "radical feminism" 


2. Truncate your search term with an asterisk * to include variants of a word. Advertis* will retrieve advertisers, advertise, advertising, advertisement, and advertisements.


3. Use Boolean operators to narrow or broaden your search (see also the Advanced Search functions). 


AND narrows your search to only items that contain both of your search terms.

  • sylvia plath AND feminism


OR broadens your search to include items that contain either or both of your search terms. This can be useful when there are two possible terms or spellings for your subject.

  • "united states" OR america


NOT removes items from your search, finding items that contain the first term while removing ones that contain the second.

  • "sylvia plath" NOT criticism

Organize Your Search Results

Organize your results to find what you are looking for more efficiently. For example, if you are looking for current research on your topic, sort by date from newest to oldest.  

Get Help

Accessing the Catalog

There are two ways to access the Library Catalog from the Hekman Library's homepage

1. Search Start

If you don't know exactly what you are looking for or where to find it, the Search Start from the library homepage is a perfect place to start your search. One strategy for figuring out what to search for is just doing an initial search with one or two keywords, using the results you get to home in on what you really want.

You'll notice in the Search Start results page there is colorful heading over the Library Catalog page. This allows you to quickly move from searching the Hekman Library's own holdings, to MeLCat (the holdings of nearly every library in Michigan) to a few of our online databases, from which you can access journal articles and e-books.


2. Library Catalog










To search the Library Catalog without the extra Search Start heading, just click on the Library Catalog tab on the homepage. This will take you directly to the Hekman Library catalog, where you can use any of the search methods below to do an effective search of the Hekman Library's holdings.


Basic Search Methods

Search by Field

Search by keyword for most searches (see tips for keyword searching on the right).

If you are looking for a specific item, search by title.

For all the works by a particular author, use the author field. For works about an author, however, you should use the subject field.

The subject field is a vocabulary of topics which the Library of Congress has classified each item into. This field is particularly useful for research on a subject. Again, works about an author will be a subject search; for example, for Plath biographies and criticism you should change the field to subject and search "plath, sylvia." For hints on using LoC subject headings, look here.

Use the series field for sets of books, especially when the books of the series all have different titles. For example, to see all the titles in the Reference Guide to Literature, you would search this.

Limiters: Type & Form

Use the Type and Form drop-down menus to limit your search to:

Types (What kind of item am I looking for?)

Books, journals, maps, music - audio, music - scores, software, spoken word, video, and other. 

Forms (How do I want to access this item?):

Print, online, recorded media, microfilm, other. 

Search in: Location 

The default setting (Hekman Library) will search all collections except for the Government Documents. To include Government Documents in a broader search, select "Calvin" as the location. 

Use the Location limiter to limit your search to one of the library's collections.

About the Collections: 

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Reading Your Search Results