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What Do I Do If There Are No Results For My Search?

 

Like other things in life, searching in the catalog doesn’t produce the results you’re looking for. If nothing is found for your search, you’ll see this message (or something very much like it): 

Sorry. No entries were found for nyarlathotep.

In this case, we did a search for Books - nyarlathotep - Title - All C/W MARS Libraries. What this tells us is that there are no books in all the libraries of the consortium that have “nyarlathotep” in the title. 

(If we did a search for All Formats - nyarlathotep - Keyword - All C/W MARS Libraries, on the other hand, we do get one book of scary stories by H.P. Lovecraft.) 

There are many reasons why a search can return no results or not the results you were looking for. Here are a few: 

1. It’s possible that there is no material in the catalog that matches your search. Sometimes, for example, people will look for a book and no library in the consortium will have purchased it. This sometimes happens with textbooks or with self-published books. 

2. Simple searches often produce the best results. You may try your search again with fewer conditions. For instance, if you used “Book”, you could try “All Formats”. If you used “Title”, you could try “Keyword”.

3. Limiting your search to a single library may result is no search returns. This just means that the library you searched didn’t have what you were looking for. You can try searching “All C/W MARS libraries”. 

4. The catalog will try to find records that have all the words you’re searching for. A search with fewer words will sometimes succeed where more words don’t. For instance, if you search for “spain luxury hotels”, you will get no results. If you search for “spain hotels”, you will get results that will lead you to materials on luxury hotels in Spain. (“Luxury” may appear in the book; it just wasn’t in the catalog record.) 

While often we can find things on our own, we should always remember that our local librarians will be happy to help us if we get stuck.

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