Helpful Searching Tips

About the catalog
What does the catalog search?

Use the library catalog to find materials held or made available by the Rutgers University Libraries, including:

  • Books
  • Periodicals (journals, newspapers, and magazines)
  • Media (audio and video recordings)
  • Music scores
  • Maps
  • Manuscripts
  • RU Dissertations
  • Government publications
What is not searched?

The library catalog does not include records for articles. If you have a citation for a specific article, search for the title of the journal in which it was published to determine if the Libraries have access. If you are looking for articles on a topic, use the articles search tab on the Libraries' homepage or use indexes and databases. For more information, see How do I find an article?

The library catalog also does not include the holdings of the Camden Law Library, the Rutgers Law Library - Newark, and the Gottfredson Library of Criminal Justice.

Basic search

Use basic search to find materials by keyword, title, author, or subject. The default setting (keyword) searches for your terms anywhere within the record. For more precision, try limiting your search to title, author, or subject by selecting one of these choices from the drop-down menu. Stemming is automatically applied to return records containing variations of your search term. For example, a search for "rain" will also retrieve "rains," "rained," "raining," etc.

Search type Description Examples
Keyword Search for terms anywhere in the record renewable energy
postcolonial literature
Title Search for terms in the title of any work, including books, journals, videos, etc. catcher in the rye
introduction to chemistry
Journal Title Search for terms in the title of a journal, magazine, or newspaper new england journal of medicine
u.s. news & world report
Author Search for terms in the name of an author or creator ernest hemingway
rutgers university
Subject Search for terms in the subject headings describing a work abortion
Call Number Search for works by all or part of a call number (with punctuation and spacing) QB981.H377 1988
WO235 A579 2006
C 3.6/2:G 29/4
ISBN/ISSN Search for works by ISBN or ISSN (with or without hyphens) 0192827804
Advanced search

Use advanced search to create complex searches or limit your results by library, format, language, or date.

Search fields

Enter your search terms in the boxes and select which fields (keyword, title, author, subject, etc.) you wish to search. Click Add Search Field to add additional search fields to the form. You may add as many fields as needed.

Use the Match setting to specify how your search terms should be combined. For example, if you enter the words baseball and soccer:

Match ALL Terms Returns results that contain both baseball and soccer
Match ANY Terms Returns results that contain either baseball or soccer
Match NO Terms Returns results that contain neither baseball nor soccer
Search groups

For complex searches, a single set of search fields may not be enough. Click Add Search Group to combine multiple sets of search fields. Use the Match setting to specify how your search groups should be combined.

ALL Groups Finds terms from all of your search groups
ANY Groups Finds terms from any of your search groups

For example, if you're looking for information about the impact of media violence on children, you might conduct a basic keyword search for media AND violence AND children. However, if you wanted to conduct a more comprehensive search you can use search groups to include synonyms and related words and combine them into a complex search statement.

All Groups
Search Group 1 Search Group 2 Search Group 3
Match ANY Terms Match ANY Terms Match ANY Terms


Use limits to restrict your search to a particular library, format, language, or publication date. Hold down CTRL while clicking to select multiple options.


Browse allows you to browse through an alphabetical listing of titles, journal titles, subjects, authors, and call numbers. It is the easiest way to locate an item if you know the exact title or name of the author. It is also useful for locating all items classified under a particular subject heading.


Browse the entire catalog by title. Omit articles like "a", "an", and "the" (and their foreign language equivalents) that appear at the beginning of a title (e.g., The Catcher in the Rye).

Journal title

Browse journals, magazines, and newspapers by title. Omit articles like "a", "an", and "the" (and their foreign language equivalents) that appear at the beginning of a title. For best results, be sure to include any punctuation in the spelling of the title (e.g., U.S. News & World Report).


Browse the catalog by subject headings. Subject headings typically include a main heading that has been progressively subdivided to describe narrower topics. For example, to find information on the causes of the American Civil War, look for items classified under the subject heading United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Causes. For best results, omit dashes when searching subject headings.


Browse the catalog by author. Enter all personal names using last name first (e.g., Shakespeare William). First names are not required, but entering at least the first few letters may increase precision, especially when searching common last names. For best results, be sure to include any punctuation in the spelling of the name (e.g., O'Connor).

Call number

Browse the catalog by call number. A call number is a code that identifies an item's subject and shelf position. The Libraries use multiple shelving schemes including Library of Congress (LC), National Library of Medicine (NLM), and Superintendent of Documents (SUDOC). All call numbers schemes are interfiled in one index. To find items that begin with a particular call number, enter all or part of the number in the search box. For best results, be sure to include any spacing or punctuation that appears in the call number (e.g., PN41.E54 1998 v.1).

Course reserves

Use course reserves to find print or electronic course readings placed on reserve by your instructor. Print reserve materials can be checked out for in-library use for two hours. Access to electronic reserve materials requires NetID login and is limited to students and instructors of the course.


To search reserves by an instructor, enter the name of the instructor starting with the last name (e.g., Cohen, Ed).

Course title

To search for reserves by course title, enter the full title of the course. For best results, avoid using abbreviations (e.g., Introduction to Macroeconomics).

Course number

To search for reserves by course number, enter the course number beginning with the school code and including all colons (e.g., 01:220:103:02).

Search tips
Boolean operators

Use Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT) to combine multiple search terms. If no operator is specified, the AND operator is used by default.

AND finds records containing all of your search terms.

AND typically narrows your search results.

For example, media AND violence finds articles that contain both "media" and "violence."
Venn diagram demonstrating the AND boolean operator.
OR finds records containing at least one of your search terms.

OR typically broadens your search results.

For example, children OR adolescents finds results that contain either "children" or "adolescents."
Venn diagram demonstrating the OR boolean operator.
NOT excludes terms so that each search result does not contain any of the terms that follow it.

NOT typically narrows your search results.

For example, dolphins NOT football finds results that contain "dolphins" but not "football."
Venn diagram demonstrating the NOT boolean operator.
Phrase searches

To search for two or more words as an exact phrase, enclose them in quotation marks:

"genetically modified foods"
Wildcard searches

Use wildcards to substitute for a single character or set of characters within your search terms. To perform a single character wildcard search, use the ? symbol. For example, to search for "woman" or "women," use:


To perform a multiple character wildcard search, use the * symbol. For example, to search for "color" or "colour," use:


You can also use wildcard searches to search for variant word endings. For example, to search for "test," "tests," "testing", or "tester," use:


Note: You cannot use a * or ? symbol as the first character of a search.

Fuzzy searches

Use the tilde ~ symbol at the end of a word to retrieve approximate matches. For example, to search for variant spellings of "Tchaikovsky," use the search:


Enter a value between 0 and 1, to specify the desired degree of similarity. The default parameter is 0.5. The closer the value is to 1, the greater the similarity. For example:

Proximity searches

To search for words in proximity, enclose them in quotations and use the tilde ~ symbol followed by a number to specify distance. For example, to search for results containing "economics" and "keynes" where these terms appear no more than 10 words apart, use:

"economics keynes"~10
Term boosting

Use the ^ character followed by a number to assign greater weight to a search term for the purposes of relevance ranking. For example, the following search gives greater weight to the term "keynes":

economics keynes^5
Viewing results

By default, search results are displayed in order of relevance. Use Sort to change the order of results according to date, call number, author, or title.

Narrow search

Use the filters in the left column to refine or limit your results by date, format, library, subject, language, and more. Applied filters will be displayed at the top of the column. Click the X next to a filter to remove it from your search criteria.

Add to book bag

Temporarily store items in your book bag to view later. Click the check box next to a result to add it to your book bag. You can also add an entire page of results to your book bag using the Select Page option. Click Book Bag to view your selected items and save, email, export, or print your selections. A Rutgers NetID or library barcode is required to save items to your library account.

Search tools

Use the search tools at the bottom of the search results screen to save, email, or create an RSS feed for your search. You can also view and save searches from your search history. A Rutgers NetID or library barcode is required to save searches to your library account.

Item records

Click on the title of a result to view additional details about the item, including availability information. To locate print materials, be sure to note the library, sub-location, call number, and status of the item. [Note: You can text this information to your mobile phone]. A Rutgers NetID or library barcode is required to access Rutgers-restricted electronic resources from off-campus.

Requesting materials

If the item you want is unavailable, you can request a copy using one of the options below. A Rutgers NetID or library barcode is required to request materials from the Libraries.

Book delivery Use Book Delivery to request a circulating item that is IN-PROCESS, PENDING, or CHECKEDOUT.
Special request Use Special Request to request an item that is NON-CIRCULATING or ON-ORDER, or arrange for delivery to a law library or off-campus pickup site.
E-ZBorrow Use E-ZBorrow to request an item that is CHECKEDOUT or otherwise not available for loan.

For more information about requesting materials, see Rutgers Delivery Service (RDS).

My library account

Login to My Library Account to view your checkouts, requests, fines, and saved items. A Rutgers NetID or library barcode is required to access your library account.


View all of your currently checked out items and due dates. To renew an item, mark thwe checkbox next to the item and click Renew Selected Items.


View the status of your current book delivery or special requests. To check the status of other requests (such as E-ZBorrow, UBorrow, Interlibrary Loan, or Media Booking) use the links at the bottom of the page.


View the balance due for any fines on your account.


Enroll in text message notifications for requests and recalls.

Saved searches

View your saved searches. Saving searches allows you to return results from a previous session or find new items matching your research interests.

Saved items

View items saved from previous searches. Add notes to saved items and organize them into lists. To share a list with someone, click Edit List, set access to "public", and send them the link to your list.