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Finding Resources: In the Catalog

Not sure how to search for a particular item? Want to learn how to use a database? Use this Guide to get all the best tips and tricks.

Quick Links

Search the Sarah Lawrence Library Catalog for items (books, journals, DVDs, etc.). 

Need to request an item we don't have? Learn how to place an Interlibrary Loan request.

Narrowing Your Search

The catalog has Filters/Limits - use these to narrow down your search to the language, format type, or subject that you are researching.

Here is what the limits in the catalog look like, they are located on the left hand side of the results.

Have Questions?

Quick Tip

Be sure to use commands, called Boolean Operators, to further specify your search. 

Keyword and Subject Searching

Keywords Subjects
Natural language words that describe your topic Pre-defined "controlled vocabulary" that describe what an item is about 
More flexible search - looks for anywhere the words appear in the record Less flexible search - only the subject fields will be searched
Broader search, but may yield irrelevant results Targeted search; results are usually more relevant to the topic, but may miss some variations

Keyword searching is how we normally start a search. Pull out important words or phrases from your topic. 

Subject Terms and/or Headings are pre-defined terms that are used to describe the content of an item. These terms are a controlled vocabulary and function similarly to hashtags on social media.

We are indebted to the MIT What are subject headings and keywords? box for some concepts displayed here.

In the Catalog, subject headings are displayed under "Description" in the record of an item. Click on the arrow to the left of "Description" and then scroll down to the section called "Subjects."




In the Databases, subject headings may be listed as Descriptors, Subjects and/or Subject Headings and are typically located in the Abstract and/or Details of an article.


Precise Searching

For more precise searching in the catalog use these index labels.

Author Search
Exact search Au= author name
Non exact search Au: author name

Title Search
Exact search Ti= title
Non exact search Ti: title

Personal Name
Exact search Pn= name
Non exact search Pn: name

Library of Congress Subject Descriptor
Exact search De= subject
Non exact search De: subject

Medical Subject Headings (MeSH)
Exact search Hm= MeSH
Non exact search Hm: MeSH




Is the book you need checked out? You can request it be returned by clicking the recall button

Keep in mind, the person who has the book has up to 2 weeks to return it. Also, DVDs and Reserve items cannot be recalled as these have shorter lending periods.

Questions? Email: