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Catalog User Guide

How to use the LVA catalog

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Library Reference Services
Library of Virginia
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Richmond, VA 23219

Basic Search

The LVA Catalog

Start your search on the catalog home page. Enter search terms where it says Search anything. Search terms can include titles, authors, and subjects (such as people, places, organizations, and topics).

As you type, you will see the option to limit your search to Books and Journals, Archives and Manuscripts, or Digital Collections. 

Search Tips

  • Using quotes around phrases may return fewer, more relevant results.
  • Boolean operators OR, NOT and AND written in ALL CAPS may be used. By default, all search terms will be combined with the AND operator. To exclude terms, use the NOT operator before a term.
  • Wildcards can be used to find variant spellings or words. The question mark (?) will match any one character. For instance, "Ols?n" will match "Olsen" or "Olson". The asterisk (*) will match any number of characters (including zero). "Ch*ter" will match "Charter", "Character", and "Chapter", and "Temp*" will match "Temptation", "Temple", and "Temporary".

Advanced Search

  • Select Advanced Search to the right of the basic search bar for more search options. On this page, you can create more detailed searches, combining keywords, names, and subjects. 
    • On mobile devices, Advanced Search can be found by selecting the three dots in the upper right corner of the screen.

Browse Search

How to Browse

  • Select Browse in the toolbar at the top of the page to begin a browse search. 
    • On mobile devices, select the three dots in the upper right corner of the screen and select browse
  • Select the dropdown menu to choose the type of browse search.

Helpful Browse Tips

  • Browse by Name to find variant spellings of an author or creator's last name (for example, Jennings and Jenings). It may also be used to locate family histories by surname (for example, Smith family).
  • Browse by Title or Series to quickly find variations in titles. For example: Big Stone Gap Post and Big Stone Post.
  • Browse by Subject to see how your topic is subdivided in the catalog's subject headings, allowing you to browse materials by subject and identify keywords to use in your search. 
  • Browse by Call Number or SUDOC number to find materials that are shelved under the same Library of Congress call number or U.S. Government Printing Office call number.
  • Browse by Film, Accession, or Broadside Number to locate microfilm, manuscripts, and other items by the number assigned by Library of Virginia.
    • Please note: Microfilm must be searched as "Film ###." Broadsides must be searched as "Broadside ###."