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History: Using the Catalog & Library

Quick Tip

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


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:

Search the Catalog

Librarian Tip: You can search the catalog for a variety of items (articles, books, DVDs, and more). Looking for a specific article? Just search for the title of it in the catalog, just like you would for a book or DVD.

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.


Visiting the Library?

See how to find items in the Library with our Finding Resources in the Library page.

Interlibrary Loan (ILL)

If we don't have an item here at Sarah Lawrence you can request it through Interlibrary Loan (ILL). This means we will look to see if another library has the item and if we can borrow it from them. If we can borrow it you will get an email when the item arrives here at the Library. To request an item through ILL, find it in the catalog and click on the blue Request button.



To find out more about Interlibrary Loan see our Guide.