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Using SearchWorks: Searching the library catalog and articles+: Working with limits

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.

Working with limits

Limits (aka facets) are terms from the metadata of the items in your search results, grouped and counted. Because limits depend on the presence and consistency of the metadata, they sometimes are not a complete representation of the results. 

If your result set is very large, review the limits to see what Resource types, Authors, or Topics are represented. Select appropriate limits to view only the most relevant results.


Before you search

Select limits before you search if you are certain of the category.

  • If you want only images, select Resource type: Image. 
  • If you want only materials that you can read online, select Access: Online.

If you don't see the results you expected, try removing the limits you've selected. The libraries may have what you want in a different form or location.


After you search

to disambiguate an author's name

A search for author John Barton finds over 200 results by several authors with that name. The author limit distinguishes among the individuals by full name or birth/death dates, allowing you to find the one you want:

  • Barton, John H. (52)
  • Barton, John, 1948- (23)
  • Barton, John J. (12)
  • Barton, John, 1957- (10)
  • Barton, John (7)
  • Barton, John, 1928- (7)
  • Barton, John M. T. (John Mackintosh Tilney), 1898- (3)
  • Barton, John, master of the free school of Kinfare (3)
  • Bartone, John C. (John Charles), 1921- (3)


to search for Java as a geographic location

A search for the subject Java finds over 2,000 results, most of them about the computer programming language. Use the Region limit to focus on the geographic Java:

  • Indonesia (425)
  • Java (Indonesia) (273)
  • Java Sea (Indonesia) (41)
  • Netherlands (24)
  • Java (20)
  • Borneo (14)
  • Java Sea (11)
  • Sri Lanka (11)
  • Indian Ocean (10)


Limit definitions

Is the item available online, or physically at the library? (Many items are both.)
Resource type
The type of content - for example, text, music.
Media type
The physical or encoding format of media.
A histogram shows the distribution of your results by year, decade, or century, depending on the size of the range.
To narrow the date range of your results, use the slider, or enter a start and end year, and click Apply.
Search only the holdings of a specific library. (But caution: no individual library contains all of Stanford's materials on a given topic.) 
Select results created in or translated to a specific language.
Authors/creators of, and contributors to, works in your results. 
The topic covered by works in your results.
The category or style of works in your results.
Call number
Shows how your results are distributed across major disciplines. SUL uses several classification systems: Library of Congress (LC) for most materials; Dewey for some historical holdings; and various government document classifications.
The geographic region covered by works in your results.
The historical period covered by works in your results.
Organization (as author)
Corporate or government entities that are identified as author or are otherwise responsible for content.