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Iona WorldCat

What is an Index Label?

Index labels are WorldCat prefixes that let you refine your search upfront by specifying what fields you want to search (e.g. call number).  

  • Index label followed by a colon (:) - example au:bronte 
    • This is most useful when you are doing a broad search or are not certain of your search term.
  • Index label followed by an equal sign (=) - example au=toni morrison
    • This is most useful for an exact match search.
    • Note: Not all index labels may be followed by an equal sign.

You may use combine index labels to further refine your search.

  • Example: b8:dvd su:history  Note: this will returns DVDs with history in the subject field. 

Note:  If you use several terms in your search they must all be in the index label format.

Commonly used Index Labels

Enter one or more of the following index labels before your search term to refine your search results.

Index Labels

Index Label     Meaning       Note
ti: or ti=     title                  
au: or au=      author             
su: or su=             subject heading    
kw: or kw=           keyword  
bn: ISBN Index label optional/hyphen optional
in: ISSN Index label optional/Hyphen required issn:0000-0019 
so: or so= periodical source  
pb: or pb= publisher      
yr: or yr= publication year     

How do I search using a Call Number?

Use the index label nu: followed by the call number. You can only use a colon with this type of search, you can't use an equal sign.  It's important to follow these guidelines to facilitate your search:

  • Input the index label nu: followed by the complete call number (do not include location prefixes such as “R”, “Q”, “I”, etc.)
  • Input a single space following the Dewey class number (e.g. 973.73) or the acronoym (e.g. lel) only.  There should be no spaces thereafter.


  • General examples:
    • nu:973.73 c369
    • nu:813.5 w46g
    • nu:813.5 H4b-1
    • nu:012 H488hSuppl.


  • Specialized examples:
    • nu:lel 20170-71   Note:  Library of English Literature collection
    • nu:lac 40084       Note:  Library of American Civilization collection
    • nu:cc                   Note:  Curriculum Collection.

How do I search for Theses?


  • b8:crj will return all Criminal Justice theses
  • b8:edu kw:bilingual will return Education theses which have the keyword bilingual in the record
  • b8:phl su=augustine will return Philosophy theses which have the subject Saint Augustine in the record

How to Search for Theses

General Index Label   Collection Label  Theses
b8:    crj    Criminal Justice
b8: edu Education
b8: eng English
b8: hon Honors
b8:       hps History & Political Science
b8: hsa Health Care Programs
b8: mba Masters of Business Administration 
b8: phl Philosophy

How do I search Special Collections?


  • b8:dvd kw:hamlet will return DVDs with the keyword Hamlet
  • b8:irish su:literature will return materials in the Irish Collection with the subject literature
  • b8:quinlan ti=The gnostic gospels will return the exact title "The gnostic gospels" from the Quinlan collection

How to Search Special Collections

 Index Label   Collection Label    Collection
b8:          irish    Irish Collection
b8:             Br. john driscoll       Brother John Driscoll
b8: merton wisdom    Merton Wisdom
b8: quinlan    Quinlan
b8:    spiritual masters    Spiritual Masters
b8:       tpnha    Thomas Paine
b8: reference    Reference
b8: lac    Library of American Civilization
b8: lel    Library of English Literature
b8: archives    Archives
b8:                         dvd    DVD
b8: vhs    VHS
b8:             faculty author    Faculty Author
b8: leisure    Leisure Books
b8: celtic    CELTIC C.A.T.

How do I search the Curriculum Collection?


  • b8:curriculum  will return all CC materials
  • b8:non-fiction su:math  will return CC materials with the subject math 
  • b8:asia society yr:2001  will return Asia Society materials published in 2001

How to Search the Curriculum Collection

General Index Label Collection Label Item
b8:            curriculum CC all items
b8:   fiction CC fiction books
b8:   non-fiction CC non-fiction books
b8:   kits CC kits
b8:   asia society CC Asia Society