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Advanced Searching Techniques: Field Codes

What are field codes? Why should you use them?

Searching in a database using different fields can be a powerful way to narrow your results. A field is a specific part of a record in a database. Common fields that can be searched are: author, title, subject, and abstract.

When using the Advanced Search screen databases, look for drop down boxes or menus to select the field you want to search.

Multiple fields may be combined using Boolean operators.

Using specific field codes in combination with other search techniques can produce more precise searches.

Below are a few of the most common field codes, that will help make your searches more precise. However, some of the subject specific databases have other more specific fields.

TI Title: Searches for the term in just the title 

SU Subject Terms: Searches for the keyword in the subjects (click here for more information about subject terms).

AB Abstract: Searches through the abstract where available. Not all resources will have an abstract available, so many resources may be excluded when using this field.


How to use them?

  1. Click on "advanced search" under any database
  2. Click on the drop down menu under "select a field"
    Visual representative of above instructions
  3. Select a particular field to search in. The best places to search in for more relevant results are title, abstract and subject term fields. 

    Visual representative of above instructions
  4. When you select a particular field, the database will only search in that field. For example in the above example will only return results where "Berlin Wall" is in the title. 


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