Search/Browse Help - Advanced Search
About Advanced Search
Advanced Search provides a guided search template that helps you combine keywords found anywhere in the record or in specific record areas (titles, names, subjects, notes, identifiers, publication information, etc.).
The Advanced Search shortcut URL is: https://catalog.loc.gov/advanced
Advanced Search can be useful if you are looking for specific items but do not know, for example, the complete name of an author/creator or the first words of a title. This form can also help you develop more precise search strategies to combine or exclude search words or phrases.
Advanced Search Options
Advanced Search contains three sets of search boxes with associated attributes, tied together with Boolean operators:
To perform an Advanced Search:
- Enter your search term(s) in the search box(es).
- Select all of these, any of these, or as a phrase from the drop-down list to specify how you want multiple search words to be combined.
- Narrow the scope of your search by changing Keyword Anywhere (GKEY) to the index of your choice from the next drop-down list (after within). The Index Descriptions help pages provide more information on LC Catalog search codes and index configurations, including the fields and subfields included in each index.
- Add to your search by selecting a Boolean operator (AND, OR, NOT) and adding more search terms. The default Boolean operator is AND.
- Refine your search by adding limits.
- Toggle open context-sensitive search tips or click Search/Browse Help from either the Menu at the top of your screen or the Help link at the bottom of your screen.
- Select the number of items you want to display in your search results Titles List. You can increase the default of 25 results to 50, 75, or 100.
Advanced Keyword Search Results
Advanced Keyword search results are displayed as a Titles List, generally arranged by author, title, and date. While the initial sort order of your search results is determined by the indexes you select for your search, Titles List results can be re-sorted.
Punctuation, Diacritics, Special Characters, Non-Roman Characters
Most marks of punctuation in your search query are converted to spaces. Most diacritics and some punctuation marks are removed (including apostrophes, alifs, ayns, middle dots, primes and double primes). A few special characters, however, are retained in searches: ampersands (&), plus signs (+), at signs (@), number signs (#), and musical flat (♭) and natural (♮) signs (musical sharps are converted to spaces). Special characters are generally converted to their nearest alphabetic equivalent (for example: an æ diagraph to ae or a þ thorn to th).
Records in the LC Catalog use Unicode opens in a new window (UTF-8 encoding) for searching and displaying data. In addition to Roman scripts, Catalog records may also contain the following languages/scripts: Chinese, Japanese, Korean; Cyrillic-based scripts; Greek; Hebrew, Yiddish; and Perso-Arabic script (e.g., Arabic, Persian, Pushto, Sindhi, Urdu). For more information, see Searching/Displaying Non-Roman Characters.
In general, your preferred web browser settings will not need to be changed to correctly view records that contain diacritics, special characters, or non-Roman characters. If you have problems, however, you may need to reconfigure your browser opens in a new window. Best results occur if you have Unicode fonts and use Unicode character encoding with automatic character encoding activated.
To filter your search, toggle open Add Limits and select:
- Year Published/Created of the material
- Language of the material
- Type of material (e.g., book, periodical, music score)
- Location of the collection within the Library of Congress
- Place of Publication (e.g., country, state, province)
Searches in the LC Catalog can return thousands of results. Search limits can be useful to refine your results, but should be used with caution. Many older catalog records do not contain the data that is used to set limits, and so these records will not appear in search results. Similarly, some formats of material (such as images) may not contain data such as language information; limiting by language will exclude these records from your results. In addition, when multiple values (e.g., several languages) are recorded in a single field of a catalog record, limits can only retrieve the first language. If relevant material is not retrieved with limits set, clear the limits and modify the search.
Advanced Keyword Search Tips
- Enter words or phrases in any order. Search results will match all words (including articles and conjunctions in all languages, such as: and, or, not, the, a, la, das, al-, etc.).
- Use quotation marks (" ") to identify words you want searched as a phrase (e.g., "tax reform")
- Use a percent sign (%) as a single character wildcard, either inside or at the end of a search term (e.g., col%r retrieves color, coler, and colur, but not colour). If your search terms contain a percent sign, remove the %. For example, to find the title: 100% solution enter 100 solution.
- Use a question mark (?) for truncation (different forms of a root word) and as a multiple character wildcard, either inside or at the end of a search term (e.g., ecumen? retrieves ecumenical and ecumenism). Truncated search terms must be two or more characters long (e.g., KF? not K?).
- Use all of these - not as a phrase – to combine search terms found in different components of fields, for example: personal names with birth/death dates (Jordan Michael 1963), corporate names with parts (United States Congress), titles with subtitles or parts (Star wars. VI, Return of the Jedi), or subjects with subdivisions (United States History). Use as a phrase to search for terms found within – not across – subfields, for example: Jordan Michael or Return of the Jedi.
- Most punctuation marks (hyphens, slashes, periods, etc.) are replaced by spaces. Because spaces are used to divide words, use quotation marks to treat your search term as a phrase when punctuation occurs in the middle of your term (e.g., "U.S.A." or "part-time"). Keyword number searches are especially tricky. Treat punctuation in numbers as word separators and select the as a phrase option when you include numbers with punctuation in your search.
- Capitalization does not matter.
- Search results return up to 10,000 entries for each query.