Search Tips

Improve your search results by using the following tips:


Multiple words can be searched together as a phrase.

  • Example: The search [world health organization] will find ‘World Economic Health Organization.’


Words can be shortened using:

  • An asterisk [*] to represent 1-5 characters
  • Example: The search [environment* polic*] will find ‘environmental policy’, ‘environmental policies’, and ‘environments policy.’
  • A double asterisk [**] for open-ended searches
  • Example: The search [comput**] will find ‘computer’, ‘computers’, ‘compute’ and ‘computing.’
  • A question mark [?] to replace a single character anywhere in a word
  • Example: The search [wom?n] will find both ‘women’ and ‘woman.’

Boolean Searches

Use ‘AND’, ‘OR’ and ‘NOT’ to create complex searches: AND will limit your search; OR will expand your search; NOT will exclude words from your search.

  • Examples: The search [stocks AND bonds] will only return results with both the word ‘stocks’ and the word ‘bonds’; the search [stocks OR bonds] will return results containing either word. Complex searches like [ (Alaska OR Canada) AND (adventure NOT vacation) ] will return results featuring the word ‘adventure’ with either ‘Alaska’ or ‘Canada,’ but not the word ‘vacation.’


Use ‘NEAR’ to specify words close to each other in any order

  • Example: The search [California NEAR university] will find results where the words may be near one another, but not necessary adjacent (i.e. ‘University of California’).

Field Searches

Select a field from the drop-down menu to the right of the search box or use the shortcut codes below to search a specific category:

  • a:author
  • t:title
  • s:subject
  • n:note (includes publisher)
  • Example: A search for ‘baseball’ using the title drop-down selection or [t:baseball] will only find words with ‘baseball’ in the title and will not return items with baseball as a subject.

You can also use the ‘Advanced Search’ link located under each search box to further refine your search by date, material type, location and more.

Additional Resources

We provide access to many electronic resources including eBooks, eAudiobooks, journal articles and government documents. Most of these resources are available only to state employees; however, some are available to all patrons with a library card from the State Library of Ohio. Check out a list of these resources.

State employees can use two of these resources, the Electronic Journal Center and EBSCOHost, to find journal articles which are available online though the State Library of Ohio. These resources can be accessed through OhioLINK. Assistance using these resources and logging into OhioLINK can be found on our Help by Resources page.

Ohio Residents can find articles using the Ohio Web Library.

Need more help?

Contact the Research Services Department at the State Library of Ohio by phone at 614-644-7051, by email at or by chat. The Research Services Department is also available for in-person consultations at the State Library of Ohio from 8-5, Monday-Friday.