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Encompass Search Tips

Having trouble finding what you need from Encompass Search?

Try some of the strategies listed below.

Too many results? Try:

Enter your search phrase in quotes when searching for a specific title or phrase.  This forces the search to locate ALL of the words IN THE ORDER GIVEN (not just anywhere in the record).  Use this strategy for locating a known item by title or to locate materials on a specific topic.

You can also limit results after the search by clicking the check boxes on the left sidebar of your search results

  • e.g., choose Print Book on the left if you want the Book Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice instead of a video.

If you get too many results, try adding the author's name in your revised search (e.g., "complete poems" AND "emily dickinson") using boolean operators as below.

  • Combine search terms with standard “boolean” operators, like AND, OR, and NOT.  
    • Be sure to Capitalize AND, OR and NOT to distinguish these search term connectors from your search terms (e.g. "Pride and Prejudice" AND DVD).
    • Use AND to search for items that contain both of your terms.
    • Use OR to search for items that contain either of your terms (e.g., heart OR cardiac). 
    • Use NOT to exclude terms from your search.

Too few results? Try:

Breaking your topic down into its most important concepts. 

  • Instead of searching all the words in your research question (e.g., How does sleep deprivation affect college students' learning?), try using only the most important concepts (e.g., "sleep deprivation" AND "college students" AND learning).

Using broader search terms.

  • Instead of searching very specifically phrased search terms (e.g., "sleep deprivation"), try searching more general or foundational terms (e.g., sleep).

Adding synonyms for your search terms.

  • Instead of searching only one word for your concept (e.g., learning), try searching multiple words that express the concept you are researching (e.g., learning OR achievement OR education).

Adding variations of search terms.

  • Instead of searching only one variation of a word (e.g., learning), try using truncation symbols to find variations of the words (e.g., learn* will search for learn, learning, learned, etc.).
  • Note: most databases and catalogs recognize * as the truncation symbol, although a few use another character, such as !.

If you find the title, but not the edition, year, or format you need, check to see if the “Group related editions” box is checked.  This is also known as “clustering” and you can un-select it to expand results. 

  • Alternatively, you can look under the “Editions and Formats” Drop down within the item record to see other editions & formats.

Getting the items:

Searches default to showing items held by Libraries Worldwide (so you don't miss anything!)  You can also limit your results to items held locally by selecting 'Muhlenberg College Trexler Library' on the left side filters.

  • Items available to Muhlenberg College users are labeled "Available Muhlenberg College Trexler Library." See example below.

To locate items on the shelves, note the Call Number and title of the item you need. 

The call number will consist of a Dewey Decimal number of at least 3 digits and an alpha-numeric "Cutter number" consisting of a Capital letter followed by 3 digits and a lower case letter or letters. 

  • You can write the call number down, take a screen shot, or create a list in Encompass Search
  • Find the Library level your book will be found on according to the following schedule:

Items with Dewey numbers from 001 to 192 are located on Library Level "A"

Items with Dewey numbers from 193 to 779 are located on Library Level "B"

Items with Dewey numbers from 780 to 999 are located on Library Level "C"

NOTE: Items with the prefix "Ref." are interfiled and will be located on the same level as items within the Dewey Range without the prefix.


  • Items located on Level "A"
    • Musical Scores with the prefix "SCO"
    • Audio-visual materials with the following prefixes:
      • CD for musical CDs
      • DVD or BLU for video 
      • AB for Audiobooks on CD
    • All Government Documents
    • All Microforms
    • All "Ready Reference" items including:
      • Graduate Reference
      • Academic Reference
      • Travel Reference
    • Most Reference Maps and Atlases

Items without the "Available" label or that say "At other libraries worldwide" are not in Muhlenberg College's collection, but most items not owned by Muhlenberg College can be requested via interlibrary loan.

Encompass Search

When should I use Encompass Search?

Encompass Search allows you to quickly search, find, and access reliable and credible library content. In addition to locating books and other materials in Trexler Library’s local holdings, Encompass Search is ideal for:

  • Researching paper topics by revealing a broad overview of what's "out there" in the scholarly literature;

  • Finding representative, high-quality sources in various formats-- by filtering using the ‘peer-review limiter’ 

  • Locating interdisciplinary information by drawing on databases and indexes beyond resources you already know about-- even beyond Trexler Library’s holdings!