CLIO Basic Search

The Basic Search screen allows you to search across the holdings of all the Columbia Libraries (excluding Teachers College and the Law Library), using a variety of search types. 

  1. Enter your search terms in the box after "Search".
  2. Choose a type of search from the dropdown list after "within".
  3. If you choose a Keyword or Title search, you can also select a Limit from the drop-down list under the search box. These limits do not work with Author, Subject, Call Number or Series searches.

  4. Then click on the Search button:

More Help with Specific Search Types


This search looks for words anywhere in the record. Keyword searches are a good substitute for a subject search when you do not know the standard subject heading. Results are ranked by relevance, with words in the title, author, or subject given higher priority than words in other parts of the CLIO record. Keyword may also be used as a substitute for a title or author search when you have incomplete title or author information.

  • Enter keywords relating to your topic: prairies ecology
  • Use quotes for a phrase: "victorian britain"
  • For a hyphenated word, use a hyphen or quotes: to find anti-Communist, enter anti-communist or "anti communist"
  • You can search for words with one or more variable characters by using a question mark as a wildcard operator or truncator.
    It can be placed at the beginning, middle, or end of a query:
          ethiopia? finds ethiopia, ethiopian, ethiopians
          wom?n finds woman or women
          organi?ation finds organization (American spelling) and organisation (British spelling)
          neuro?al finds neuronal, neurological, neurodevelopmental, neurophysiological, etc.
          ?plankton finds plankton, zooplankton, phytoplankton, etc.
  • Do not use the words AND, OR, or NOT between your search terms as operators; they will be searched as keywords
  • For other limits (including library locations, languages, dates, and other formats) use an Advanced search

Title (begins with)

This search retrieves records for books, journals, newspapers, maps, e-books, e-journals, electronic resources, video and sound recordings, etc.

This is the most efficient way to search for known items.

  • Enter words from the beginning of the title: eternal sunshine
  • You can omit all punctuation and capitals: twains puddnhead wilson the development and design, not Twain's Pudd'nhead Wilson: The Development and Design
  • It is better to omit the article at the beginning of the title (a, an, the, das, un, el, la, l', etc.) in any language: red and the black, not the red and the black
  • You can use limits to search for specific formats, e.g., electronic resources (ebooks and ejournals), videos, music, archives, etc.
  • If you're unsure of the title, try a keyword search


This search retrieves authors, editors, composers, translators, arrangers, illustrators, etc. An author may be an individual or an organization, institution, government body, conference or symposium. If you are looking for materials about someone or an organization, use a Subject search.

  • For individual authors, enter the author's last name first, and as much as you wish of the first name: hawking ste
  • For organizations or groups, enter name from the start: association of medical librarians, not medical librarians, association of

Journal Title

This search retrieves records for journals, newspapers and other periodicals.

  • Enter journal title from the start: journal of business research, not business research, journal of
  • You can also search by the journal title abbreviation: jbr
  • If you are looking for a journal article but don't know the title of the journal, try the Columbia Libraries view of Google Scholar

Keyword (Boolean)

This search uses the Boolean operators AND, OR and NOT to combine the search terms, in order to narrow or broaden the search. You do not have to e 500 OakAccess0000: Access denied

OakAccess0000: Access denied

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