The basic search in eCatalog is actually quite powerful and the best place to start most of your searches. Whether you choose a specific format (print books, ebooks, etc.) and/or field (title, author, subject, etc.), or choose to search all formats and fields, once your results come up, there are numerous ways to narrow down your results to find exactly what you need. The following subject search will demonstrate just how to do this, from setting up your search to finding the book on the shelf.
Searching by subject is the most common search. Most people do not have a specific book or author in mind when they are doing research. They just need information on a particular topic. This can be tricky as Library of Congress subject terms are used to index all the books and other items in eCatalog. Using the official LC subject term is the best way to find a book on your topic, but most people, even librarians, are not familiar with all of them. Doing a subject search with a term not used by the Library of Congress, may bring up no results, even though we actually do have books on that subject. eCatalog does a good job of interpreting your search and bringing up related subjects, even if you have not used the official terms, but if you find you are getting no results, switch to an All Fields search instead.
The following example demonstrates a typical search for a book on the subject of business etiquette:
Take a look at the Results Page below. Notice that your search terms are highlighted. Results are sorted by relevance by default, but you may use the Sort By menu above the results to sort them in other ways, such as by date. You may find what you want by just scrolling through the results list, or you can use the options in the column to the left to Limit Search Results to suit your needs more specifically. For example, you can limit your results to a particular author or date range. Even more helpful are the Subject terms, which are the official LC subject terms. Each one is followed by a number indicating how many of the books in your list use this subject term (some may use more than one term). Check any terms you wish to include or exclude in your search, clicking on Include or Exclude after making your selections. Options for limiting your results may vary based on how you set up your original search. Searching Everything (all formats) in All Fields, for example, will give you options to limit by material type and location, as well as all the other limiters.
Basic information about the books is displayed right in the results list, including the author, publication date, call number, and availability. You may view additional details about any item in the list by clicking on the title or image.