Category Archives: Search Tips

Attend a Zotero Workshop

zotero is a free citation management program that helps you collect, organize, cite, and share your research sources and enables the download, capture, and indexing of full text, web pages, and research notes.    It also allows you to insert citations in Word documents in a wide variety of writing styles, such as APA, Chicago, etc.

Download Zotero at To make fullest use of Zotero you will also want to download one of the plug-ins for Microsoft Word and LibreOffice.  There are helpful web tutorials on the Zotero site, but the libraries are also here to help you use Zotero.

This month the Library is offering weekly Zotero workshops in 306 Butler LIbrary:

Tuesday, October 6th from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm in 306 Butler Library
Wednesday, October 14th from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm in 306 Butler Library
Tuesday, October 20th from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm in 306 Butler Library
Monday, October 26th from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm in 306 Butler Library

RSVP (  If you’re bringing your laptop, download Zotero before the workshop.

Visit the Library Workshops page to see other workshops being offered this semester.

CLIO Tip: Saving Records and Managing Lists

CLIO allows you to select CLIO records and save them to a list.

1.  Select the records you wish to save
2. Under “Selected Items…” choose “Add to My Saved List”


3. You will be prompted to log in.
4. A blue banner will confirm that items have been added to your Bookbag, which lists unfiled items.

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5. New items are added to the end of the Bookbag.
6. It is easy to move items from the Bookbag to an existing or new Saved List.

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7. Click on “Edit List Details” to make a list public or private, or to delete a list.

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We welcome questions, comments and suggestions for improving CLIO.  Your feedback is invaluable as we develop the interface. Please comment below, use the Suggestions & Feedback form under the “Help” menu in the upper right corner of CLIO, or Ask a Librarian.

Software Now Findable in CLIO

Software titles available at the Libraries’ Digital Centers were recently added to CLIO along with information about manuals, additional documentation, tutorials, and more:

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To search for a particular software program, just use the search box at the top of CLIO. The software program will carry a (PC), (Mac), or (Web) designation in the list of results, and will be interspersed with books and articles about that program. Note that the search shows the locations where you can find and use that program. A search for Adobe Illustrator gives:

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You can focus your search for software any number of ways:

  • Include (PC), (Mac), or (Web) in your search to specify a platform, e.g.:Screen shot 2014-05-06 at 12.02.02 PM
  • Use facets to limit your search to “Format: Is ▾ Computer Programs” and/or the location where you’d like to use the software:Screen shot 2014-05-06 at 11.49.56 AM

You can also view all of the software in any center by limiting to just the Location facet for that center. For example, to see the software programs available in the Digital Humanities Center, remove all facets except the “Location: Is ▾ Digital Humanities Center”:

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The Digital Science Center also provides links to finding software available there on its software page. All of the icons on the software list are links directly to the software in CLIO!

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How to Exclude Formats from a Search

We are sometimes asked how to exclude formats from a CLIO catalog search.  Recently a faculty member was looking for rare books in our special collections, and wished to exclude records for online material.

To exclude material with an “online” format:

  1. Enter search terms (or leave the box blank to find everything)
  2. Select the Format: Online from the facets on the left
  3. Use the drop down menu in the blue box above your search results to change  “Is” Online to “Is Not” Online, which will exclude online material from your results.
  4. If desired, exclude microformats as well.
  5. If desired, use the publication date facet to narrow your search to a specific time period
  6. Once you have set your parameters, they are sticky and you can search use the search box to look for other names or keywords.

We welcome comments and suggestions for improving CLIO.  Your feedback is invaluable as we develop the interface. Please comment below, use the Suggestions & Feedback form under the “Help” menu in the upper right corner of CLIO, use the “Ask a Librarian” chat widget on this page.

Create a Customized RSS Feed of New CLIO Titles

Would you like to know when the library adds new titles in your area of interest?  Create an RSS feed from any CLIO search using the RSS icon , and add the feed URL to your feed reader or blog.

1. Enter any desired search terms in the CLIO search box.  Use the asterisk for all possible endings: cartoon* finds cartoon, cartoons, cartoonist, etc. Leave the box blank if you are not interested in searching for specific terms.  Press search.

2. Use the “Refine” options on the left side of the results to narrow your search. If you’re only interested in newly published and acquired material,  narrow by publication date (say 2013-2014) and by acquisition date (options are within 1 week, 1 month, 6 months, 1 year).  Other options include limiting by format (book, video, music, etc.) library location, language, subject, subject genre (this is especially useful if you would like to include or exclude fiction) and call number.

3. Sort the results by acquisition date, this will ensure that your feed is refreshed with the latest titles.

4. Right click on the RSS icon  , and copy the link address.  Paste the RSS link address into your feed reader, or blog (using the RSS widget).

Need help creating your search, or have a question about creating an RSS feed? Ask a Librarian using the box above  right, contact your subject specialist, or use the feedback link under “Help”.

Looking for a feed reader to replace Google Reader?  We like Feedly.  Here are some other recommendations from LifeHacker.

Changes to the CLIO Catalog Search

We’ve made two adjustments to the CLIO Catalog search based on feedback from faculty, students and librarians.

Stemming has been disabled.  Stemming, or lemmatization is a default feature of some SOLR databases.  It functions by reducing a word to its “stem” and then adding all possible suffixes.   Before the change, a search for Methodism retrieved  methodist(s) and methodism(s) but it also retrieves every record containing the terms method, methods, methodical, etc.    It also prevented searchers from using trunction/wildcards effectively because   in some cases the abbreviated stem was stored in the indexes, so a search for “methodis*” would not retrieved methodist or methodism because the term had been stored as “method“.

Stemming also affected facets and the ability to sort results.   This stemmed search for orientalism retrieved more than 52,000 records:


The new, unstemmed search retrieves 2% of the results retrieved by the stemmed search.  If no asterisk is used, it will match only on orientalism.  Facets will relate specifically to the search term, and sorting will be more useful.

However, searchers will need to remember to use the asterisk * wildcard/truncation symbol to get all possible endings for their searches: orientalis* will retrieve orientalist(s) orientalism(s) etc.


We are also no longer returning results that match on a library location, so a keyword search for Judith Butler will not return among its results all items shelved in Butler Library containing the word Judith anywhere in the record.  The location (in this case “Butler Stacks”) facet remains in place for filtering results by location.

These changes were made  in release 7.9.20, in November 2013, but we wanted to give more detailed information about them.  They affect only datasources that are derived from the Columbia library catalog.  The Articles and Academic Commons datasources are not affected by this change.

Questions or comments about any aspect of CLIO?  Your feedback is invaluable as we develop the interface.  Please comment below, use the Suggestions & Feedback form under the “Help” menu in the upper right corner of CLIO, or Ask a Librarian.

Search tips for Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Tibetan languages

Our librarians in the Starr East Asian Library have prepared tips for searching the CLIO Catalog in:

These guides are linked from the Catalog guide, and also from the Guides tab.

For more detailed information, please consult:


Searching Part or all of a Subject Heading

The subject headings in CLIO Catalog are context sensitive.  Where you place your mouse will determine how much of the heading is searched.   As you hover your mouse over the heading, text will display what will be included in your search.  This allows you to be as specific or general as you wish.   The headings are always read from left to right, so if you over over the center of the heading, everything up to that point will be searched.   Once you’ve searched on a subject heading, you can still add as many subject facets as you wish to your search.

If you have a question about searching CLIO, please comment below or use the Suggestions & Feedback form under the “Help” menu in the upper right corner of CLIO. Or, Ask a Librarian.

Selecting, Emailing, and Saving Records

Release 7.9.1 is the first public release of list-management (one of our most requested features) – both the ability to operate upon a list of items from the search results screen, and the Saved List capability.  It is now possible to select multiple items for emailing or saving.

The new Bookbag allows items to be saved to lists; though private by default individual lists can be set to public and their URLs shared.

List/Bookbag functionality is under especially active development so please send feedback about this and anything else related to CLIO using the ‘Suggestions & Feedback’ link under the ‘Help’ menu in the upper-right of every CLIO page.

See full release notes for 7.9.1