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Waidner-Spahr Library

JumpStart & Library Catalog FAQs: Get Started (Or should we say, Jump in?)

Maximize Your Search Powers

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Text us: 717-366-6623
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Library Tutorials


Enter Search Terms

# 1 Use boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT) to make your search more narrow or broad.

  • Typed boolean operators MUST BE CAPITALIZED in your JumpStart/catalog search. 
  • Use AND to connect search terms that represent different aspects of your search.  This helps to narrow your search. For example, enter a search for college students AND depression to find results that include both parts of your search entry.
  • Use OR to group together similar aspects of your search.  This will broaden your search.  For example, a search for college OR university will give you results that include at least one of these terms.
  • Use NOT to eliminate items from your results that contain a specific word. This will narrow your search.  For example, a search for university NOT community college will retrieve results that include university, and exclude any that refer to community college.

CAPITALIZATION of boolean operators in your JumpStart/catalog search allows you to decide whether to include the and/or/not in your search.  For example, a search for war and peace includes "and" as a search term.  A search for war AND peace treats the "and" as an operator/command and only includes the two separate terms war and peace

# 2 Use quotation marks to search for a specific title or phrase.

JumpStart and the Library Catalog search for all search terms separately by default. If you are searching for something with a specific phrase or for a known title, it is often best to enclose your search with quotation marks to get the most relevant results. For example, a search for "climate change" will be more specific than a search for climate change.

# 3 Use wildcards (*, ?) to maximize your search results.

Wildcards are special characters that can be entered into a search to represent one or more other characters.  These wildcards work in JumpStart and the Library Catalog.

  • * - Enter an asterisk to perform a multiple character wildcard search. For example, type cultur* to find results that contain cultureculturalculturally, etc.
  • ? - Enter a question mark to perform a single-character wildcard search. For example, type wom?n to find results that contain woman, women, and so on.
    • The question mark can also be used alone to identify all items that meet certain criteria.  For example, enter a ? in the search box on the advanced catalog search screen, and also select Videos on the Material Type drop-down. The results will include all videos in the library catalog.

Expand or Limit Your Search

# 1 Pick a search scope to determine what is included in your initial search.

Select one of the following from the drop-down that appears when you enter a search.  The default is JumpStart when no other scope is selected.

  • JumpStart searches the library catalog and many databases.  It includes many different source types including books and e-books, films, journal articles, and more.
  • The Library Catalog searches only books, e-books, videos, and other similar materials available at the Waidner-Spahr Library.  Journal articles are not included in the Library Catalog scope.
  • Archives & Special Collections includes books, manuscripts, and artifacts in the Waidner-Spahr Library Archives & Special Collections.
  • Course Reserves searches the materials (usually books or films) that professors make available to members of their class to share.

Search Scopes

# 2 Use limiters to narrow your search.

You can limit your results before you enter a search, using the Advanced Search screen. You can also limit your search from the results screen by using the options on the left side of the page.

Some other options include the ability to limit to peer reviewed journalsitems available online, or items available in print/physical format in the Waidner-Spahr Library. It is also possible to limit results by other source types, or to information published in a specific date range or in a particular language

For limiters with multiple options, you can click the check boxes to include one type or category in your search. It is also possible to use the red check boxes next to limiters to exclude certain types of sources from your results.

# 3 Some limiters work better than others.

Since JumpStart pulls records (descriptive information about books, articles, etc.) from multiple databases, not all the limiters are applied uniformly. For example:

  • Not all items in English are coded with a language. Therefore, if you choose to limit your search to "English" you will exclude some English-language results. 
  • Subjects are not applied consistently between databases. If you want to do extensive subject-based search limiting, it is best to use an individual database. The subjects in JumpStart can be useful for your initial explorations of a topic, however.

# 4 Expand your results beyond the Dickinson collection.

By default, JumpStart search results include only items that are available to Dickinson users.  This includes both online materials (e.g. ebooks and electronic journals), as well as print books and journals that you would find on the library's shelves.

If you would like to see ALL results, including items that you would need to request through inter-library loan select "Expand my Results Beyond Dickinson's Collection" in the top left corner of the JumpStart search results page. If you are off-campus, be sure to log in to your library account, as well.

The Expand My Results Beyond Dickinson's Collection check box is located at the top of the left column on a JumpStart search page.

While this will add results that are not available at the Waidner-Spahr Library, most items can be borrowed from other libraries using ILLiad.

# 5 See newspaper articles that match your search.

A JumpStart search excludes newspaper articles from your initial results, in order to make it easier to find scholarly sources.  If you want to see what newspaper articles match your search, click on Resource Type, and then Newspaper search on the left sidebar on the results page.

# 6 Remember that JumpStart does not search everything.

If you can't find what you are looking for in JumpStart, try a different resource or search technique. Visit the databases list to find specialized databases by subject (e.g. English or Chemistry), or by source types (e.g. encyclopedias or video streaming).