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Using SearchWorks: Searching the library catalog and articles+: Simple search

This guide provides general tips on using SearchWorks and the articles+ search feature to find materials in the Stanford Libraries catalog and across a wide range of subscribed databases.

Simple search

Start with a simple keyword search

Search failures can result from over-specifying the search. A simple keyword search may return more items than you expect, but the best matches will be in the first page or two.

  • the new york times
  • eric
  • stephan graham thesis


Refine your results with limits

Use the limits in the left sidebar to:

  • get an overview of the results of your search
  • refine the results to a smaller, more focused set.

Once you select a limit, it remains in effect until you remove it: that is, any new search terms you enter in the search box also be limited by the selected values.


Results are ranked by relevance

Results are ranked by their relevance to your search terms, based on:

  • where the words appear in the record (words in the title are ranked higher than words in the content notes)
  • proximity to the beginning of the title, subject, author, etc.
  • number of occurrences of the term within the record


All words are significant

Articles and preposition are included in the search, so that SearchWorks can:

  • distinguish between "archaeology and literature" and "archaeology in literature"
  • distinguish between "capitalism not globalism" (a title) and "capitalism NOT globalism" (a Boolean expression)
  • find works titled "The" or "It" and acronyms like "IT"
  • use words that are meaningful in non-English languages


Automatic stemming

Your search automatically includes plural and singular forms, as well as common suffix and tense variations of your search terms. 

  • happy will match records with the term happy or happiness but not happen

Stemming applies within phrase searches as well as keyword searches.


Truncation and wildcards

Use an asterisk to truncate terms that aren't handled by stemming, such as non-English variations:

  • créat* will find création(s)créateur(s)créatrice(s), etc.

You can truncate from the beginning as well:

  • *science finds scienceconsciencegeoscience, omniscience...

Use a question mark ? to find varations of a single letter in a word

  • kvet?h will find kvetch or kvetsh