The Something Star

The modern catalog matches terms you type exactly. Imagine you’re looking for an astronomy book, but you don’t remember the title exactly. It was Death…something by…was it Phillip? Something? So you type your guess into the search box and press enter.

Shows library catalog results of searching for Death Phillip.

There are 81 results! But none of the first items look like astronomy books. Maybe it’s a different form of “Phillip”. You could type in each different spelling, but there’s an easier way.

The something star, *.

Instead of searching for Phil, Phill, Philip, Phillip, Philips, and Phillips, you can type phil*to search all of these simultaneously. The * means “any combination of letters can go here, including nothing”. The new results after searching for phil* death are to the right. The third one looks like the astronomy book you were looking for.

Search results using the something star.

You can use the something star anywhere within a word, too. If you remember the author’s name for the graphic novels you heard about is N-something-ko Ta-something-chi, you can type n*ko ta*chi into the search box—and there you go! It looks like the author’s name is Naoko Takeuchi.

Using the something star within a word. catalog results.

Let the power of the something star guide your future searches—and if you have any questions, visit us at Information & Reference. Looking for more in-depth assistance? Sign up to tame your tech.

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