1.6 Search Tips

You do not need to enter an author's last name first, nor do you need an exact title or subject heading as all searches are keyword search. Evergreen is also forgiving about plurals and alternate verb endings, so if you enter dogs, Evergreen will also find items with dog.
  • Do not use an AND operator to join search terms.
    • An AND operator is automatically used to join all search terms. So, a search for golden compass will search for entries that contain both golden and compass.
    • Boolean operators such as and, or, not are not considered special and are searched for like any other word. So, a search for golden and compass will not return the title golden compass. Putting it another way, there are no stop words that are automatically ignored by the search engine. So, a title search for the and or not of (and in any order) yields a list of titles with those words.
  • Don’t worry about white space, exact punctuation, or capitalization.
    • White spaces before or after a word are ignored. So, search for golden compass gives the same results as a search for golden compass.
    • A double dash or a colon between words is reduced to a blank space. So, a title search for golden:compass or golden--compass is equivalent to golden compass. However space matters in this case. No result for golden : compass or golden -- compass.
    • Punctuation marks occurring at the front or end of a word are removed.
    • Diacritical marks, &, or | located anywhere in the search term but not within a word are removed. Words linked together by . (dot) are separated into two words. So, a search for |golden.compass& is equivalent to golden compass.
    • Upper and lower case letters are equivalent. So, Golden Compass is the same as golden compass.
  • Enter your search words in any order. A search for compass golden gives the same results as a search for golden compass. Adding more search words gives fewer and more specific results.
    • This is also true for author searches. Both David Suzuki and Suzuki, David will return results for the same author.
  • Use specific search terms. Evergreen will search for the words you specify, not the meanings, so choose search terms that are likely to appear in an item description. For example, the search luxury hotels will produce more relevant results than nice places to stay.
  • Search for an exact phrase using double-quotes. For example “golden compass”.
    • The order of words is important for an exact phrase search. “golden compass” is different than “compass golden”.
    • White space, punctuation and capitalization are removed from exact phrases as described above. So a phrase retains its search terms and its relative order, but not special characters, such as a + (plus), and not case.
    • Two phrases are joined by AND, so a search for “golden compass” “dark materials” is equivalent to “golden compass” and “dark materials”.
    • To prevent stemming, use double quotes around a single word or a phrase. So, a search for parenting will also return results for parental but a search for “parenting”will not.
  • Use * (asterisk) as a wildcard to truncate search terms, e.g. comp* golden may return the same results for compass golden and more.
  • Exclude a term from the search, using - (minus) . For example, vacations –britain will search for materials on vacations that do not make reference to Britain.
    • Two excluded words are joined by AND. So, a search for -harry -potter is equivalent to -harry and -potter.
    • A + (plus) leading a term has no role and is removed. So, +golden +compass is equivalent to golden compass.
You can form more complex searches using the Advanced Search features. You can also click the Advanced button under the search box to build complex searches using Boolean operator OR to connect your terms.

Improving a Search With No Results

If no results were returned from your search, you will see Keyword Search Tips for expanding or altering your search.

Further Help:

  1. Search the catalogue
    1. Basic Search
    2. Advanced Search
    3. Numeric Search
    4. MARC Expert Search
    5. Browse the Catalogue
    6. Search Tips
    7. Search Methodology
    8. Search Results
  2. Placing Holds
    1. Title and Volume Holds
    2. Placing Holds on Multiple Records of the Same Title
  3. My Account
    1. Logging into Your Account
    2. Resetting Your Password
    3. Account Summary
    4. Account Preferences
    5. Messages
    6. Items Checked out
    7. Holds
    8. Fines and Payments
    9. My Lists
  4. Integrated Electronic Resources (eBooks & eAudioooks)
    1. Checking Out E-resources
    2. Placing Holds on E-resources
    3. Checked Out and On Hold E-resources in My Account
  5. Mobile Catalogue (PAC)
    1. Searching the Mobile PAC
    2. Mobile PAC Account Information