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HC Libraries 101

Created by our Peer Research Consultants!

CrossSearch and Databases


CrossSearch is an excellent resource for finding materials (books and articles) in Holy Cross's catalog. Here's how to get the best results when using it: 

1. CrossSearch and other databases work differently from Google. Typing in a whole phrase will probably not get you far. This is because the program is looking for the specific words you searched for within the catalog. So, using keywords related to your topic will get you the best results. For example, if you are interested in researching the question, "What does aging look like in high-level politicians?" you wouldn't type "how do politicians age?" You would want to use words related to the question. The following words are a good example of this.

  • President
  • Health
  • Senator
  • Aging
  • Politicians
  • Old Age

2. When you are ready to search, use the following terms to separate your keywords and create a whole search:

  • AND (this term will ask the search engine to look for the terms you have typed together. This will WIDEN your search.)
  • NOT (this term will ask the search engine to exclude a certain term or terms. This will NARROW your search.)
  • OR (this term will ask the search engine to show you results containing either of the terms you have searched for. This is a great tool to use with synonyms, and will WIDEN your search.)
  • * (if you have a word that has a plural ending, you can use this symbol to ask the search engine to include the term you have searched and all its endings. This will WIDEN your search.)
  • " " (you can use quotes to search for groups of words or a phrase, instead of keywords by themselves. For example, "old age.")
  • ( )  (parentheses also act as a grouping tool. Think of them like using the distributive property. You can use them to section off your search, especially if you'd like to exclude terms, or separate them.)

3. Examples:

  • president* AND health
  • (politicians OR presidents) AND (health OR aging)
  • (politicians OR presidents) AND "old age" 
  • (politicians OR presidents OR senators) AND "old age" NOT health

I found some great materials! Now what?

Click on the images on this page to enlarge them.

Accessing Articles:

Most of the articles you will find are accessible through the College! All you need to do is click on the "Linked Full Text" or "PDF Full Text" Buttons. If these options are not available, you may still be able to access the article through ILL. In this case, the ILL page of this guide may be of assistance to you.

Image of one result on a CrossSearch results page, offers a "Linked Full Text" option

Accessing Books:

If you've found a book that interests you, CrossSearch can help you locate its print version in the library. At the end of the book's record, you will find which library the book is located in, as well as its call number. You can also explore other, similar books or books by the same author by clicking the drop down menus. This is a great tool for expanding your research.

Image of a book record. The book's library location and call number are visible.

Accessing eBooks:

When you find a book in our databases, you may find that it is accessible as an E-Book. In that case, you can click the provided, "Click to view e-book" link. This will bring you to a page that allows you to read the book online. No need to search the stacks!




Image of a result on the CrossSearch results page. "Click to view E-Book" option is provided.

Image of E-Book home page