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OCLC Support

Keyword search

Discover how the keyword search works in OLIB.

The Keyword Search option in the Titles domain offers an entirely different way of searching the OLIB database for bibliographic data. It employs ’intelligent searching’ techniques such as fuzzy matching and relevance ranking to maximise record retrieval.

Run the Keyword search

To run a simple keyword search:

  1. From Other Searches, select the Keyword Search option in the Titles domain.
  2. Enter one or more keywords and press Enter. You should enter your keywords as normal short phrases, e.g. ”british butterflies moths of great britain”, or just as a series of words.
  3. OLIB searches the database and displays a list of items containing the keywords you entered.


The keyword search is a powerful tool with a number of advantages:

  • Allows text retrieval functions such as phrase searching and proximity searching.
  • Gives a wide choice and range of fields to be indexed.
  • The index is created in real time for new titles and updated in real time for changed and deleted titles.
  • Simple or ‘free-text’ searches can be entered. The search is not case sensitive and you do not need to enter link words such as and. The words can be entered in any order. Free-text searches are stemmed, e.g. computers will retrieve computer, computing and computers.
  • Phrase searches are not stemmed, however, this can be over-ridden by inserting a $ symbol at the beginning of the sought term, i.e. “computer $graphic” will retrieve both computer graphics and computer graphic.
  • It is possible to use wildcards - % - which will retrieve any number of characters.
  • Stop words, such as in, of, the, will be ignored in keyword searches unless they are part of a phrase.
  • You can optionally search using either ISBN or EAN and OLIB will automatically convert

Boolean Operators

The Boolean search operators AND, OR and NOT can be used. These are not case sensitive and can also be entered as symbols:

Operator Symbols

AND and &      

OR or |        

NOT not ~      

For example, a search which identifies all items matching the word moth(s) but excluding those which also include butterfly(ies):

moths not butterflies -

A Complete guide to british moths [macrolepidoptera]

The Black moth

Gipsy moth circles the world

The Moth

Moths in the memory

Nested Logic

It is possible to nest search terms together to combine the various different boolean operators. The use of brackets acts like a mathematical equation in that the combinations within the brackets are calculated first and then linked to each other.

For example to search for all items about butterflies or moths except those by authors Evans or Heyer:

(moths or butterflies) not (evans or heyer)

Phrase Searching

Phrases can be included in searches. OLIB will only find those items which include the phrase specified. Phrases are included in double quotation marks (").

The search may be for a single phrase, e.g.

“human resources”

or phrases may be combined, e.g.

“human resources” or “personnel management”

Proximity Searching

It is possible to search for terms which occur within a defined number of words of another term. So, for example

provision for under-fives

provision for the under-fives

can both be retrieved accurately with one search: