Use the browser's back button to resume a search


Getting Started


This starter manual for Voyager describes one type of search: Command Keyword.

Command Keyword can be used to find almost anything in the catalog. Unlike other NLS catalogs, Voyager Command Keyword uses one edit box for different types of search terms such as author, title, subject, general keyword, etc.

Command Keyword searches are done from the Basic Search page.

  1. Enter your search in the edit box labeled "Step One, enter search terms."
  2. Choose any search restrictions from the list box labeled "Step two, select quick limits (optional)."
  3. Choose "Command Keyword" from the list box after the label "Step Three, choose type of search."
  4. Click the "Begin Search" button.

If the system retrieves more than one record, they will be displayed as a Titles List. The titles are linked to the Brief Record Display. If there is only one record retrieved it will automatically display as a Brief Record. If no titles are retrieved theBasic Search page will return with the message "Your search found no results ..." after the database label.


  1. Use the question mark after a term to truncate it. For exmple, fish? will retrieve records with the words fish or fishes or fishing.
  2. Use quotation marks to search for exact phrases.
  3. You must combine words or phrases with the connector terms: and or not (aka Boolean operators)
    • french and fries retrieves records with both words.
    • french or fries retrieves records with either or both words.
    • french not fries retrieves records with the word french, but only if they do not contain the word fries.
    • Use parenthesis to use to group terms for more complex searches with multiple connector terms. (french or fries) not ketchup
  4. Use the four character index codes, if you want to restrict search terms to certain fields. Otherwise, the system will return results with records that have the terms anywhere in the catalog record.

    Index codes
    nkey Name, as in author,or narrator
    tkey Titles, including series and table of contents
    skey Subjects, including names as subjects
    k084 Book Number
    k520 Annotation
    kpub Imprint, including year of production
    k300 Physical description
  5. Use the Quick Limits drop down list to restrict searches by either of format or holding agency. Quick Limit list:
    • NLS and Locally Produced books
    • NLS Sound Recordings
    • NLS Books of the last five years
    • NLS Nationally Distributed Books; RC, BR, RD, and FD books
    • NLS Braille
    • Web Braille


  1. Author or narrator searches
    "michener james"
    If you are sure of the name, use quotation marks for phrase search, in order to improve search precision.
    "king ste?"
    If you are unsure of the first name spelling, use a question mark for truncation.
    Use just the last name, if you do not know the first name
    "wodehouse p g"
    Note that some authors are entered with initials for first and middle names, when that is how their name commonly appeared. Use the initial, or if unsure just use the last name
    nkey "national library service for the blind"
    Retrieves agency names. Use the name index code or the system will try to retrieve every book NLS has produced.
  2. Title searches
    "wizard of oz"
    If you are sure of the title, use quotation marks for phrase search, in order to improve search precision.
    wizard and oz
    If unsure of the exact title or if you do not get results, search for a few significant words in the title.
    "gift of the magi"
    Searches table of contents notes
    tkey texas
    Use the index code for titles, if the title words you are searching occur elsewhere in catalog records and are causing your search to be flooded with irrelevant records.
  3. Subject or topical search
    "mystery fiction"
    If you are sure of the subject, use quotation marks for phrase search, in order to improve search precision.
    antarctic? and animal?
    To find books about antarctic wildlife. Use question mark truncation to retrieve both Antarctic and Antarctica and animal and animals
    antarctic? and (animal? or wildlife)
    Use the boolean "or" to string synonymous terms. This search retrieves records that have antartic or antarctica and either animal(s) or wildlife
  4. Book number search
    "RC 12345"
    Use quotes for book numbers with spaces.
    k084 "RC 12345"
    Use the index code to avoid book numbers that also appear in annotations and in reissue notes.
    Quotes are not needed where there is no space.

    Tip: To restrict searches by book number type: penguin? and k084 RC to retrieve books with the word penguin(s) in the record and book numbers with RC

  5. Searches that exclude fiction or juvenile works
    kumquats? not (skey juvenile or skey fiction)
    To retrieve nonfiction, adult books about kumquats.
    skey penguin? not (skey juvenile or skey fiction)
    To retrieve nonfiction, adult books about penquins. Use the subject index code so you do not retrieve every book published by Penguin.
  6. Date of production
    skey "united states" and skey "politics and government" and kpub 2003.
    Retrieve books about U.S. politics and government produced in 2003.
    "rowling j k" and (kpub 2002 or kpub 2003)
    Retrieves books by J.K. Rowling produced in 2002 or 2003
  7. Format. Use the Quick Limit list box to restrict searches to braille or sound. If you want to restrict the search to cassettes:
    "franco etruscan war" and k300 cassett?
    Truncate the word cassette to retrieve both cassette and cassettes
  8. Holding agency. Use the Quick Limit list box to restrict searches to NLS, or NLS and locally produced network books, or NLS Nationally distributed books. This latter category will include the books that we have distributed to the regional libraries and will exclude those only at the Multistate centers or NLS itself.
  9. In process records.
    "clancy tom" and inprocess
    To retrieve records for books by Tom Clancy which have not yet been produced.
  10. Combinations. You can combine any of the searches described above.
    "michener james" and texas
    To do author title searches.
    nkey "michener james" and tkey texas
    Using the index codes will increase the precision.
    "king ste?" and k300 cassett? not (skey fiction or skey juvenile) and tkey kumquat?
    To retrieve nonfiction, adult works by Steven or Stephen King on cassette with the word kumquat or kumquats in the title.