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Using SearchWorks: Searching the library catalog and articles+: Articles+ search tips

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.

Article search tips

1 For a known article, type author name and title in the main search box - or copy/paste from a citation. Example : block bioenergetics of captive yellowfin tuna
2 Start with keywords in the "All fields" search; add more keywords to refine. In articles+, adding more keywords to your search is often more effective than using facets.
3 Enter your search in lower case or mixed case, never in ALL CAPS Some upper-case words in your search may be interpreted as Boolean operators or field codes and will cause the search to fail.
4 For authors with common names, searching last name, first name brings the most relevant results to the top. Example : cornell, eric rather than eric cornell
5 Combine specific field searches using field codes: AU = Author; TI = Title; SU = Subject; SO = Journal/Source

Example : AU block, barbara SO science

Also available : AB = Abstract; IS = ISSN; IB = ISBN

6 Stopwords are disregarded, even in quotes. Searching for a title that contains only stopwords ("to be or not to be") is not possible. Try another approach: by author, subject, or by going directly to a topic-specific database
7 Not every source provides values for every facet; Geography in particular. Selecting facets (e.g., “Mexico” in the “Geography” facet) can exclude relevant items from your results simply because the items are from a source that doesn't provide that metadata.
8 Result counts are approximate; exact duplicates are removed from search results. A facet or result count may indicate there are more articles on a topic than the final result list actually delivers after de-duplication.
9 Boolean operators AND, OR, and NOT (upper-case) can be combined with parentheses. Example : tuna (yellowfin OR bluefin)
10 Search for non-English titles in quotation marks. This helps ensure that non-English words like "su" and "de" are not interpreted as search codes.


Use wildcards to search for spelling or word variations

  • * for multiple letters
  • # for 0 or 1 letter (useful for British/American spellings)
  • ? for 1 letter
Example : comput* (finds computer, computing, computation)
Example : colo#r (finds color, colour)
Example : ne?t (finds next, nest, neat... but not net)


Remove "et al" and year+vol+issue+pages from citation searches.

Copy/pasted citation searches are very effective, but some details can make them fail. Most commonly:

  • "et al" for an author list
  • number/issue details for the journal. 

Example : 

Monllor Hurtado, Alberto, et al. "Shift in tuna catches due to ocean warming." fails
Monllor Hurtado, Alberto "Shift in tuna catches due to ocean warming." is successful