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Catalog of Nonprofit Literature

How to Search the Catalog of Nonprofit Literature

Table of Contents
1.  Tips on Searching and Navigating
2.  Index Buttons
3.  Author Searches
4.  Title Searches
5.  Subject Searches
6.  Journal Title Searches
7.  Record Type Searches
8.  Searches by Year of Publication
9.  Keyword Searches
10. Phrase Searching
11. Truncation
12. Boolean Operators
13. Using Parentheses
14. Other Languages

1. Tips on Searching and Navigating
To begin a search, click on the search box for the proper field and type your search term(s). You may use upper or lower case (it makes no difference). Then scroll down the page to the "Submit Search" button and click. To begin a new search, click the "Clear Search" button at the bottom of the page.

Your first 20 search results will be displayed.  To view the rest, click the button labeled "Next 20 records".

The Catalog of Nonprofit Literature returns a list of citations in alphabetical order by author, by primary author if there is more than one, or by title for works with no author. You can also choose to sort your search results by date in reverse chronological order by clicking the drop-down list at the top of the page and choosing "Year Sort".  For a shorter form that excludes abstracts, choose "No Abstract-Brief".  Some 65 percent of the citations include abstracts. Finally, select "Recently Added" for materials we have just acquired, regardless of date of publication.

Use the "Back" button on your browser to modify your current search, or click the "New Search" link to begin a new one.  From the search page, you may choose to return to the The Catalog of Nonprofit Literature home page, or to the Foundation Center's home page. Simply click on the appropriate link to do so.


2. Index Buttons
Use the Index button to display the contents of a field.  The Catalog of Nonprofit Literature uses Index buttons for Authors, Subjects, Publishers and Journal titles. Browse the alphabetical list of headings by using the "Previous" and "Next" buttons and highlight the desired entry. Double click or click the "Add" button to paste the term into the search box.  You can paste as many terms as you desire.  When finished, click the "Close" button to close the Index.

To find a specific term in an Index, type the first few characters in the "Find" box and click the "Find" button.  The Index will display terms that begin with the specified characters, or terms that are alphabetically close.  Note that Index lists do not contain punctuation marks.


3. Help with Author Searches
Use the Index button to locate the name of the author(s) for your search.  The number in the left column indicates the number of entries by that author in the database.  You may paste as many names as you would like. Once you've made your selections, close the Index.

You may also type an author's name (last name first) or corporate name into the Author search box.

Magat Richard
Klein, Kim
Independent Sector

You may use a comma between last and first name, if you wish.


4. Help with Title Searches
The title search field includes titles of books, periodical articles, and electronic materials. The Catalog of Nonprofit Literature title searches are performed on both the title and subtitle.

The Catalog of Nonprofit Literature will find all records containing the words you supply anywhere in the title or subtitle field. A search for the title "National," for example, finds "National Directory of Grantmaking Public Charities," "American Philanthropy and the National Character," and "The Third Sector: Nonprofit Organizations in the National Economy."

TIP: Typically, for books in a series issued by the same publisher, only the most recent edition will be displayed in your search results. For example, a search on the title "The Foundation Directory" will find the 2006 edition, which is the latest edition of this annual publication produced by the Foundation Center.

When searching for a title that contains common stop words such as "the", "to", "for", or "and", you must enclose the title in quotation marks.

"Financial and Accounting Guide"


5. Help with Subject Searches
Because subject headings in the Catalog of Nonprofit Literature are assigned using a controlled vocabulary, your search will retrieve more relevant records if you use the proper descriptors.

You may use the Index button, or type descriptors directly into the "Subject/descriptor" box. And you may use Google-style Boolean operators: capital "OR" (Boolean OR) between descriptors and the minus sign "-" right before the word to exclude (Boolean NOT). When neither operator is used, the Catalog assumes you are using the Boolean AND to connect terms.

Arts OR theater = Arts or theater (broadens search)
Arts theater = Arts and theater (narrows search)
Arts -theater = Arts not theater (limits search)

Records returned will display descriptors, allowing you to refine your search based on the results.


6. Help with Journal Title Searches
Use the Index button to view and paste journal titles, or type all or part of the journal you wish to search in the "Journal title" field box.

Advancing Philanthropy
NonProfit Times

When searching for a journal title that contains common stop words such as "the", "to", "for", or "and", you must enclose the title in quotation marks.

"Chronicle of Philanthropy"

Click here for a list of periodicals indexed/abstracted in the Catalog of Nonprofit Literature.


7. Help with Record Type Searches
To limit your search to a specified record type, such as articles, open the drop-down list and make your selection.


8. Help with Searches by Year of Publication
To search by year of publication, type the year (e.g., 2004) into the correct search box.  To search by more than one year, separate each year of publication by a capital "OR", e.g., 2004 OR 2005.  To search a range of years, use a full colon, e.g., 1995:2005.  You may also use the greater than (>) or lesser than (<) symbols, e.g., >1997 will retrieve records published after 1997.

There are a very few instances where the actual year of publication was unknown or surmised at the time that the bibliographic information was entered into the database. You will not be able to search for such items by year of publication. Also, some reference books that are published as a series (every year or every other year) are given an "open date entry" — that is, the date field will contain the first year of publication followed by a hyphen, e.g., 1981-. Such serial publications cannot be readily searched by year, so it is best to use other search criteria to locate such reference works.

Searching by year of publication, while not very useful in and of itself (it invariably yields too many hits), is very helpful when you want to limit your search results to recently issued materials or to those published within a particular time frame.


9. Help with Keyword Searches
If you do not find the subject term you had in mind, you may wish to use keyword searching as an alternative. Keyword queries search in the title, subject, and abstract fields only.


Type your keyword(s) in the "Keyword" search field box and click on "Submit Search."  Keywords that appear in your results list will be in bold.


10. Phrase Searching
For exact phrase searching, enclose the terms in quotation marks.

"business plan"


11. Trucation
Use an asterisk (*) to truncate words.

fund* (This will retrieve entries such as funds, funders, funding, fundraiser, fundraising, etc.)

12. Boolean Operators
You can expand or narrow your search by using the Boolean operators:

Use capital "OR" to retrieve records that contain any of the terms entered.

Arts OR theater

Use the minus sign "-" right before the term you would like to exclude from your search (the Boolean NOT command).

Arts -theater

Remember that multiple keywords are automatically joined by a hidden "AND" operator, thus requiring results to contain all keywords you have entered.

Arts theater

13. Using Parentheses
While searches are generally performed in left-to-right order, you can use parentheses to control the search order.

proposals (sample OR examples)
This will first perform the search within the parentheses and then return results that also include the keyword outside the parentheses.

11. Other Languages
In order to locate foreign-language items in the database use the phrase in Spanish, in German, etc. in the Title search box.


Contents and Scope
New Acquisitions
Nonprofit Literature Blog
How to Search
Locate the Sources Cited in Your Search Results
Search the Database
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