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UMass Amherst Libraries

Plant, Soil and Insect Sciences

Search terms

Try specific terms first, then try more general ones.

  • Specific terms (Northern Flicker or Colaptes auratus) give fewer but more precise results
  • General terms (like birds or woodpeckers) give more results, but are less precise

Precision gives fewer items (or none!), and you may miss books that might have a chapter on what you want to learn about.

Use both scientific and common names for organisms, connected with or, as above.

Try using truncation (forest* will find forest, forests and forestry) and variant spellings so you won't miss important titles.

See the box above for other Search Tips.

Library Catalog searching

Find books from the Library's homepage (http://www.library.umass.edu)

For a known title or author, use the Quick Search box on the top left of the homepage.

For a more complicated search, choose Books (library catalog), then

  • Choose the Advanced tab
  • Use the dropdown boxes to focus your search terms
  • Use Limits to restrict your search to a range of dates, type of media, or even library location

Use one book to find others

 When you find one useful book, look at the Subject(s) in its catalog record; if you see a Subject that looks good, click it to see other titles on the same subject.


Books from other libraries

  • You can get a book delivered to UMass from the other Four Colleges by clicking on Request Item at the top of the book's record.
  • WorldCat (linked under Databases) indexes books from many other libraries. If you find a title you want and we don't have it, you can borrow it through Interlibrary Loan.

"Research is formalized curiosity."

--Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960)