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LiONiL: Library Instruction Online for Information Literacy

Module 2: Finding Books and Other Materials in the Library

Searching by keyword

Keyword search is a free-text search. Keyword search allows you to search with any word(s) to find information on a topic.

If you search two or more words, i.e. birthright citizenship, you must surround the phrase with double quotations. See example and explanation in the screenshot below.

Keyword search screenshot

Keyword search has both advantages and disadvantages that you should be aware of.

key informationAdvantages of Keyword search:

  • Retrieves all item records that contain your search terms.
  • Helps you identify relevant subject headings for your research topic.
  • Helps you locate chapters in books that contain information on your topic.

key informationDisadvantages of Keyword search:

  • You may retrieve items that are not relevant to your research topic.
  • You may retrieve too many search results.