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Research Help

Search Techniques

The Library uses the Library of Congress Classification system. 

Each subject heading determined by the Library of Congress is assigned a call number. Once you know the subject you are looking for, you may browse the stacks with the corresponding call number and know that you are viewing all materials owned by the library related to that subject.

To find additional related subject headings, consult the Library of Congress Subject Headings (a set of red reference books located near the Reference Desk in McQuade Library).

**At McQuade, call numbers A-H are located on the 2nd floor. Call numbers J-Z are located on the Lower Level

Keyword vs. Subject Searching

Creating a Search Strategy

What are Boolean Operators?

Boolean Operators are the words AND, OR, and NOT. You use these terms to connect keywords or search words to help you search online databases more effectively and efficiently.

Use AND to connect two unlike words and narrow your search.

Use OR to connect to like words and broaden your search.

Use NOT to exclude a word from your search results.



What is Truncation?


To shorten or cut off at the end.

The process of searching for a keyword in a database:

  • in plural or singular form
  • as a root word with multiple endings


theat* (use for theater and theatre)

wom*n (use for woman or women)

child* (use for child, children or childhood)

By adding an asterisk to the root word you can search for that word with all possible endings.

Online Tutorials