Searching the Library Catalog

For many questions, current textbooks may provide the most appropriate information. Using the Library Catalog is the most effective way to locate these pertinent texts.

Search Tips

  • In the Library Catalog, you can search for materials by author, title, or subject. (You can also search for a specific call number or ISBN/ISSN if you know it). The main search bar will look for your search terms in all these fields: click ‘Advanced Search’ to specify that you want to search for the term only as an author, title or subject.
  • BU Libraries Search will retrieve journal articles as well as books and journals. It also searches chapter titles and descriptive information within a book as well as book titles. If you receive too many results and wish to narrow them to a specific type of resource (for example, if you only want to see ebooks), choose from among the options in the column on the left side of the screen, under ‘Show Only’ or ‘Refine My Results’.
  • If you are not sure which subject term to use, try looking for a book by keyword, then, when you find one that is close, click ‘More Information’ for a listing of the subject terms that have been used on that book. You can click on any terms that are interesting to you and see other books indexed with the same subject.
  • Unlike journal literature, book literature is indexed very generally. If you have no luck with a very specific topic, try searching more broadly.

Narrowing or limiting your search

You can also use the “Advanced Search” option to:

  • Limit to a specific language
  • Retrieve books published within a particular date range
  • Search databases for electronic materials within a specific broad category (i.e., Health & Medicine)