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Please answer LibraryThing related questions here (and on the other Help and FAQ pages). To ASK questions, however, please use Talk.


Types of search on LibraryThing

There are 3 main search venues for book-related information on LibraryThing:

Each of these methods has access to different sets of data and uses specialized search engines tuned to give the best performance for that particular data.

Catalog Search

Site-wide Search

Q: How do I execute a site-wide search to find a particular book, author, or tag page?

A: Use the Search box at the top-right corner of each page. Entering a term and pressing return or clicking the magnifying glass icon will issue a site-wide search query, defaulting to searching Works. Omitting any text in the box and clicking the magnifying glass icon will take you to the search page where you can select other search options before searching.

For more detailed information, see Site-wide Search

Common Knowledge Search

Common Knowledge is often referred to simply as CK.

Accessing CK search

There are three main ways to search CK data. The most general is accessed via the link at the foot of every page on LibraryThing called Common Knowledge, which takes you to this page. At the top of that page is a simple search interface, explained in the next section.

The second way to search CK is via any page which displays CK data - a work page or an author page, for instance. All CK data is linked. Thus, if you are viewing an author page where the author's date of birth is entered in the CK section, clicking on that field shows you all other authors with the same date of birth.

The third way is through the Site-wide search. Currently, only Awards, Characters and Places can be searched via this method.

General CK search

The search box near the top right of the CK page (near the "facts and counting" label) allows you to search either a single CK field (such as Agent or Nationality) or all fields. Use the left-hand box to enter what you want to search for, and the right-hand drop-down list to choose which field to search. All fields searches all CK fields. The very last option - username - allows you to search not the data itself, but its creators. Putting timspalding in the search box and choosing Username as the search field finds all CK data entered by LibraryThing's founder, for instance.

Known Problems

CK search isn't perfect. One issue is that accessing the CK search by clicking on a link (in the CK section of an author or work page, or a CK value in one of the resulting pages) doesn't collapse case or trailing space. So if you click on a link for "graphic designer" under Occupation, it won't find any authors whose occupation was listed as "Graphic designer" or "graphic designer " (note the extra space).

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