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Divinity Library Instructional Guide: Using the ORBIS Catalog

ORBIS is Yale's online public access catalog, a joint catalog for all the Yale libraries, with the exception of the Law Library (the Law Library's holdings can be accessed through MORRIS, the Law Library's online catalog.). Orbis contains records for books and the titles of journals; it does not contain records for specific journal articles or specific chapters within books.

Simple Search

The Simple Search screen allows you to search by either title, journal title, author, keyword, or subject. There are also some other options for your search, which are available if you scroll down the list of Search In: options.

ORBIS search options

These other search options are: Call Number (LC), Call Number(Local), Ranked Keyword, Author (sorted by title), Uniform Title and Special Collections Subject. Don't worry if you don't know what these all mean; for most searches, title, author, keyword or subject searching is sufficient.

Enter your search word or phrase in the Search for: box, then select the type of search you wish to do in the Search in: box adjacent to it. To clear your choices and start over, press the Clear button. Click on Search or press the Enter key to perform the search.

sample ORBIS search

The Records per page box on the lower left controls the number of lines displayed on each screen in your Search Results.

records per page

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Setting Search Limits

Two types of search limits are available in Orbis.

Quick Limits, which are found within the Simple Search page, are used to apply a single limit to your current search. For example, you can limit your search to just books (thereby excluding journals, videorecordings, etc. from your search results), online books, or to materials published in English.

Quick Limits

More Limits offers several further options for limiting searches. Using this option you can limit your search to a particular date of publication, language, item type, medium, or library collection. Click on the More Limits button, and select the desired limits from the Search Limits screen.

More Limits

Note that Quick Limits and More Limits can be used with Title, Keyword, and Ranked Keyword searches. Limits cannot be used with Author (sorted by name or title), Subject, or Call Number searches.

Also note that limits are retained between searches until cleared by clicking the Clear Limits button before starting a new search.

To combine a Quick Limit with selections from More Limits, go to More Limits first and make your choices there, then go back to the search box and choose a Quick Limit before searching.

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Title Search

A Title search retrieves materials by title in the exact word order of the search. Use this search when the title of the work is known. If you are unsure of the exact wording of an item's title, try a Keyword search.

To search by title, select the Title option from the search menu. Type the title, or the first few words of the title, and click on the Search button. Omit articles such as the, a, or an.

Title Search

Results of your search are displayed in a Title List.

Title Results

Note that a Title search retrieves items based on information in the title fields of their catalog records. Many items, such as music CDs or anthologies, have a general title but also titles for each individual part, e.g. each music track or essay. These titles are not included in the item's title fields. To search for them, use a Keyword search.

When searching on titles, always omit initial punctuation in any language (e.g., quotation marks, �). Also, omit intervening commas, periods, apostrophes, and most other punctuation. Retain hyphens and internal commas or periods (commas or periods within numbers).

Also, note that Boolean operators (and, or, not) do not function in Title searches.

If searching the full title does not produce satisfactory results, enter only the first few words of the title. You can also enter just the beginning of a word: searches are automatically truncated and retrieve catalog records that begin with the words or phrases you enter. Do not use the question mark (?) for truncation in title searches.

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Journal/Newspaper/Magazine Title Search

A Journal/Newspaper/Magazine Title search works the same as a Title search, but retrieves only magazines, scholarly journals, newspapers, annuals and other regularly published materials. Use this search when you know the exact title of the journal or newspaper you need. Omit articles such as the, a, or an.

Journal search

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Author Search

Author searching in Orbis enables you to locate materials by the name of authors, editors, composers, translators, arrangers, illustrators, and other people associated with a title. Authors can also be organizations, institutions, governments, government bodies, or the names of symposia.

Corporate Author search

Search limits are not available for Author searches. Boolean operators (and, or, not) do not function in Author (sorted by name) searches.

Searching on an author takes you to an index, where authors' names are listed alphabetically. The number of results for each Author is listed in the Results column. Click on the number in the first column to retrieve the actual results for that author.

Corporate Author search

For personal names, always enter the author's last name first, followed by the first name. A comma is not necessary. For example, for the theologian Paul Tillich, you would enter tillich paul.

If you are uncertain of the spelling of the last name, enter as much as you know, and omit first names. For example, if you didn't know the spelling for Nietzsche, enter niet.

Retain the hyphen in a hyphenated name. For theologian Elisabeth Moltmann-Wendel, search on moltmann-wendel elisabeth.

For corporate authors (i.e., government agencies, organizations, conferences), department is often abbreviated to dept; search using both forms to ensure that all relevant records are retrieved. Search hierarchical names in full descending order: catholic church diocese of arras. Proceedings of conferences, meetings, etc. can be found by searching on the full name of the conference, for example: Conference on American Religious Thought.

You may also wish to try Author (Sorted by Title) when searching for works by prolific authors:

Author Sorted by Title search

Author Sorted by Title Results

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Keyword Search

When you search by keyword, each record in the catalog is checked for the presence of the word or words you specify. A record will be retrieved if the words appear in almost any part (or "field") of the record, including the title, subtitle, author, publishing information, and subject fields. In contrast, when you search by subject, a record will only be retrieved if your search words appear in the subject fields of that record.

Keyword searches are useful when you do not know the authorized subject heading for your subject, or when you have incomplete or complex information about a title or author.

Keyword searches can retrieve a large set of results. Several tools are available to help you refine your search and retrieve more meaningful results, including Boolean searching, truncation, quotation marks, parentheses and search limits.

Boolean searching: use the boolean operators and, or, and not to combine search terms:

mysticism AND women retrieves every record that has the word mysticism and the word women somewhere in the record.

prayer OR contemplation retrieves every record that has either the word prayer or the word contemplation somewhere in the record. Both words may be in the record, but only one of these words is required.

prayer NOT contemplative retrieves all the records that have the word prayer but do not have the word contemplative. If the word prayer is in a record along with the word contemplative, the record will not be retrieved.

Use truncation to allow for alternate characters:

? matches zero or more characters
?rport will search for airport, carport, etc.
behavi?r will search for behavior and behaviour
ecol? will search for ecology, ecological, etc.
% matches specified character length (a % equals one character)
defen%e will search for defence and defense

Use quotation marks to search for phrases:

"process theology"
new testament

Use parentheses to group search terms:

(ancient or medieval) and church

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Subject Search

The Subject search option is used to retrieve records using Library of Congress (LC) Subject Headings. The LC Subject Headings are terms or phrases that have been designated as the standard word or phrase for every subject. For example, if you were doing research on early Christian art, you would not want to search on early Christian art as your subject, because the designated LC Subject Heading for this topic is actually art early Christian. Often, if you put in the wrong subject heading, ORBIS will let you know what the correct subject heading is for your topic.

early christian art subject search

results for early christian art subject search

see art early christian

results for art early christian search

If you don't know what the LC Subject Heading is for a particular subject, it is recommended that you first try doing a Keyword search to locate works on your topic. Once you've found a work that corresponds to your topic, click on the record and look at the Subject Headings; you may see the appropriate subject heading listed, and then you can click on that subject heading to find other works on that topic.

Another option is to use the Tips for Searching in ORBIS section of the library's Research Guide for Christianity to get suggestions for subject headings for various topics.

The results of a Subject Heading search are displayed in a Search Results list which may be browsed, forward and backward. More Info links provide Cross-References and Scope Notes as well as indicate relationships between the headings (e.g. broader and narrower terms).

Proper names may be used as subjects. For example, entering nouwen henri will retrieve materials about but not necessarily by, Henri Nouwen.

Commas, periods, apostrophes, and most punctuation should be omitted from subject searches.

Subject searches are automatically truncated (i.e., catalog records that begin with the words or phrases entered are retrieved). Do not use the question mark (?) for truncation. One effective way to search on subjects when you don't know the exact subject heading is to start with a larger, more general topic and see how it subdivides into more specific topics. For example, if you search on the subject heading atonement, you will see that in addition to this single larger topic, there are numerous more specific subtopics such as Atonement - Biblical Teaching, Atonement - History, Atonement - Judaism, etc.

results for subject search on atonement

Finally, search limits do not work in Subject searches.

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Advanced Search

You may choose another search method by selecting the Advanced Search tab.

Advanced Search tab

The Advanced Search is similar to selecting the Keyword option from the Simple Search screen, except that you are given multiple search boxes and you do not need to include Boolean search operators in your search statements. Instead, options for the Boolean operators AND, OR and NOT are provided for you between each search box. Advanced Search also includes drop-down menus to select options on whether to include all of the search terms, any of the search terms, or to treat the search terms within the search box as a phrase. A second drop-down menu enables you to specify whether the keyword(s) can be located anywhere in the record, or only in specific fields.

Advanced Search

Advanced searches can be limited by selecting from More Limits; however, these limits must be selected prior to entering the search statement(s).

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This file last modified 2/2/12