There are many ways to search the OWWL Catalog to find the materials you need. Listed below are some suggestions and tips for getting the most out of your catalog searches:

Quick search from home page

The search box on the home page is a quick, general search.

A good strategy is to use a word or two from the title and the author's last name: 

or concept phrase: 

or phrase and a format: 

or a phrase and a type and an age range and a format: 

Once you have a set of search results, you can refine your search and/or filter your search results.

Basic search the online catalog

If you prefer to start your searches with more options, we recommend bookmarking the online catalog New Search page:

This basic search adds a format selection to the quick search, and the same quick search search techniques apply.

Advanced Search

The Advanced Search employs formal library terminology used to describe materials and formal database searching techniques.

On the whole, we have found that combining terms in a basic keyword search is as effective (if not more so!) as an advanced search, more efficient, and usually provides more predictable results.

As an example of the difference between quick/basic searches and advanced searches, try the "princess fiction juvenile audiobook" example above. That quick search returned 75 results. Try the search in the Advanced Search interface using:

  • Keyword contains princess
  • Item Type = Nonmusical sound recording
  • Audience = Juvenile
  • Literary Form = Fiction

This returns NO results. Why? Not because we do not have these types of materials, but because according to formal library cataloging standards, audio materials are not marked as fiction or nonfiction! Long story short, in most situations, a basic keyword search will yield better results.

Filter your search results

Another good strategy is to start with a search that gives you a larger set of results, and then start to add more search terms or filters to narrow your results. Filters allow you select subsets of your results based on characteristics like author, subjects, and series. These filters display next to the titles.

  For example, of 319 titles about organic gardening, 65 of them     are specifically about growing vegetables, 4 of them relate in       some way to New York State.


  Click on a filter to see the titles that include that value.


  Click on the filter again to go back to your full results set.



Sort by...

The list of results can be sorted by relevance, title, author, and pub date. Relevance relates to a ratio of search terms to frequency or proximity of terms in the resulting titles.