Library of Congress Online Catalog: Help Pages

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Expert Search

Expert Search (formerly called Command Keyword) is the most powerful search method available for the Library of Congress Online Catalog. Use this search method to retrieve items with selected words or phrases located anywhere in the catalog record. Expert Search may be used for a simple single-word search, but it also allows for more complex searches that combine multiple terms from one or more fields of a record.

Expert Search allows for
more complex searches using Boolean
operators and special index codes.

Search limits are available for Expert Searches. Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT) may be used with or without parentheses and special index codes may be used to focus the search.

Expert Search Examples:

To retrieve . . . Enter the search string . . .
materials on missions to Mars or Venus (mars OR venus) AND mission
materials by and about Brian Aldiss knam "aldiss brian"
catalog record for LC Control Number (LCCN) 98-1 k010 98000001
ISSN 1094-1304 (Journal of Health care marketing) kisn "1094-1304"
ISBN 0-553-37783-3 (Amazing Colossal Episode Guide) kisn 0553377833
name Chaucer anywhere, published by Oxford University Press knam chaucer AND 260b "oxford university"
proceedings of the Grand Chapter of the California Royal Arch Masons k110 "royal arch masons" AND california
materials having the class number gv946 published in London kcla gv946 AND 260a london
printed music of songs used at Olympic Games set search limits Type of Material: Printed Music

ksub olympic? AND ksub songs

information about building canoes or kayaks but not with fiberglass (skey canoes OR skey kayaks) AND skey design NOT skey fiberglass

Search Tips:

  • Set search limits before constructing the search.
  • Use ? at the end of a search word for truncation (e.g., ecumen? will search for ecumenical, ecumenism, etc.).
  • Enclose exact search phrases in quotation marks (e.g., "tax reform"). Truncation may be included within quoted phrases (e.g., "afr? american").
  • Combine several terms using Boolean operators: AND, OR, or NOT. Boolean operators may be entered in upper or lower case.
    • AND - narrows the search by combining multiple concepts (e.g., mars AND mission)
    • OR - broadens the search with related terms for each concept (e.g., ten OR 10)
    • NOT - excludes terms from the search (e.g., marketing NOT sales) Note: use caution when selecting the Boolean NOT operator so that desired catalog records are not inadvertently excluded.
    • If you want to include the words and, or or not as search words, it is necessary to include them, along with other words in quotes as a phrase.
  • Combine several Boolean operators in a single search statement, using parentheses to group concepts together.
    Example: (wood? OR forest) AND "resource manage?"
  • Restrict search words or phrases to a particular index (or area of the catalog record), by preceding them with the appropriate Index Code prior to the search word or phrase (e.g., ktil five AND kpnc lewis).

Alternative Search Options:

To build searches from fill-in-the-blank boxes, using Boolean operators and index codes from drop-down menus, try Guided Search.

Use the browser's [Back] button to resume searching.

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July 1, 2008