OSU Navigation Bar

The Ohio State University

OSU Libraries

net.TUTOR: WorldCat@OSU

Previous | Tutorial Home | Next

4. WorldCat@OSU: Searching

See Searching 101 for detailed search tips and strategies good for most resources.  Below you'll find strategies unique to WorldCat@OSU and also a quick overview of those that are similar to other resources.  The techniques here will apply to any tab.

Searching - Find all terms (default)

To find all words in your search:

Enter as:

cats dogs birds





cats AND dogs AND birds


cats dogs birds




cats AND dogs AND birds

If no other symbol/operator is entered, AND is the default.


Searching - Other strategies

These strategies are similar to other resources:

Strategy Description Example
Phrase searching Place " " around phrases of two or more words to search them in that exact order. "United States"
Eliminate a term Place NOT before a term you want to eliminate breast NOT cancer
Find at least one of a number of terms Use OR to find any of a number of terms. cats OR dogs OR birds
Wildcards Use # to replace a single character or ? to replace multiple characters. Follow ? by a number if you want it to replace a certain maximum number of characters wom#n AND lab?r
Truncation Use * at the end of at least three letters to find terms that begin with those letters. mathematic*
Grouping Use ( ) to group concepts, such as OR items chocolate AND (Swiss OR Belgian)


Searching - By specific fields

Use the Advanced Search to find terms in specific fields:



Searching - Only peer-reviewed or downloadable articles

In the Advanced Search, you can choose to see only articles on your topic that appear in peer-reviewed (also known as refereed) journals.  You can also choose items that have direct links to the full text of articles (note that there are other ways to get electronic access to articles, described in the next section - so use with caution).



Searching - Narrow your search

You can limit to location (such as only at OSU or within OhioLINK), specify a year range, or choose a specific format:


If you are happy with your search results, but want to narrow things down a bit by format, year, etc., look to the left of your results list.  You have options for refining by the following facets:



  • Database name
  • Format (you may choose multiple options)
  • Author
  • Year
  • Language
  • Content  (fiction, non-fiction, biography, peer-reviewed)
  • Audience (juvenile or non-juvenile)
  • Topic (subject areas - this is especially useful if you're unsure of which databases to pick when searching)


Searching - Sorting options

The default sort is by Library and Relevance.  Items from OSU and then OhioLINK will be higher in the results list than items not available.  However, you can choose the sort order from this list:

More WorldCat@OSU help is available on the OCLC web site.



Notice that you can mix various techniques.  Try mixing truncation, grouping, and an OR search all together in a search.  Try these searches – how do they compare?:

    • Women AND engineering
    • wom#n AND (sciene OR engineering)
    • (wom#n OR female*) AND (scien* OR engineer*)


    Our Answer:


Previous | Tutorial Home | Next