Keyword (match all words)
Use Keyword (match all words) searches when it is not clear where words or
phrases relating to the material for which you are searching are
likely to fall in catalog records, when terms may appear in different
places in different records, or when there are no results using
other types of searches.
| Keyword (match all words)
finds words or phrases located anywhere in the catalog record.
Because the keyword search is set up to look for any of the words
entered and because of the very large size of the Library of Congress
database, keyword search results can be imprecise. The records
will display according to the system's evaluation of their relevance.
Search limits are available.
Boolean AND operator is automatic.
Basic Search Examples:
|Search string . . .
||Retrieves catalog records containing . . .
|"history of analog comput?"
||history of analog: computer, computers, computing, computation,
|"eating and drinking"
||the exact phrase; would be different from the search "eating
drinking" or "eating & drinking"
||the word photography and the word color, colur, coler, etc. (% is used to replace a single character)
||both words: joynson, johnson, johannson, etc. and catalog, catalogue, cataloger, etc.
- Enter words or phrases in any order.
- All words will be searched (including articles and conjunctions in all languages, such as and, or, not, the,
a, la, das, etc.).
- Enclose words in " " (quotation marks) to retrieve the exact phrase (e.g.,
- Use a ? (question mark) to replace multiple characters either inside or at the end of a search term (e.g.,
ecumen? will retrieve ecumenical, ecumenism,
- Use a % (percent sign) to replace a single character) either inside or at the end of a search term (e.g., col%r will retrieve color, coler and colur, but not colour).
- Search results are ranked using a relevancy
algorithm. To improve the relevancy of the results it is usually
better to include more words or phrases in the search, in addition
to using the suggested punctuation tools.
Keyword search results are displayed as a Keyword
Titles List in ranked order using a special relevancy algorithm.
While relevance ranking is used by most Web search engines, each formula for determining relevance is a little different.
Here is some information on the ranking factors used in the Library
of Congress Online Catalog:
- Uniqueness of search terms within the database
- Proximity of search terms to each other within the catalog
- Number of times a search word is present in catalog record
fields (e.g., subject heading field, author field, title field)
in which the terms occur.
| Alternative Search Options:
If specific information is known (e.g., an author, title,
subject term, etc.), it is better to use a Basic
Search (other types) or Guided
Search (offering guided structuring of Boolean and index-limited
If a Keyword search retrieves too many catalog records
(a common problem with Keyword searching), try using
a combination Keyword and Subject search by
following these steps:
- Within the Keyword search box, type in words and/or
phrases in any order.
- Review the results list and identify a relevant catalog
- Select the Subjects/Content
tab to review the displayed subject headings.
- Perform a new search using one of the relevant subject
heading by selecting its hypertext link.
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