How do I search the BHL collection?

Using the basic search box, select either the “Full-text” or “Catalog” radio button. The default search is a full-text search.

  • Full-text — searches bibliographic metadata + the full character recognized text of the entire BHL collection. Yields (many) more results than a “catalog” search.
  • Catalog — searches bibliographic metadata only, such as title, author, etc. as you would expect to search within a library catalog. Yields fewer results than full-text search.

full text or catalog search
Note that full text matches rely on automatically generated Optical Character Recognition (OCR) which is of variable quality for each scanned book. Please review more information about how our full text search works in BHL.

Select either the “Full-text” (searches bibliographic metadata + full text) or “catalog” (searches bibliographic metadata only) button by the search box.

  • Enter keywords in a string:
    • Example: Darwin origin species
  • For an exact search, enter a phrase in quotes:
    • Example: “origin of species”
  • Use quotes when searching for a DOI
    • Example: “10.5962/bhl.title.98662”
  • Truncate to search across multiple possible term variants or spellings
    • Example: Linn*
  • Capitalize Boolean operators
    • AND: Search terms combined; Results include any items that contain both terms in the metadata or full text
      • Example: barred AND owl
    • OR: Results include any items that include either term in the metadata or full text
      • Example: Linne OR Linnaeus
    • NOT: Results exclude any items that contain the term following the operator ‘NOT’
      • Example: owl NOT barred
  • For more complex searches that combine Boolean operators, enter keywords in parentheses:
    • Example: (origin OR descent) AND Darwin

For more advanced search strategies, please see our Advanced Search recommendations.