Answered By: SAPL FAQs
Last Updated: Jul 07, 2016     Views: 468

Punctuation and Special Characters

  • All searches are not case sensitive.
  • The ampersand (&) is equal to a spelled out word AND.
  • Apostrophes are removed.
  • Most other punctuation marks are replaced by spaces. The following sample searches produce the same results:
    • All the King’s Men or all the kings men
    • Fathers & Sons or fathers and sons
    • O’Malley, Walter or omalley walter
    • Mexico-history or mexico history
    • U.S. News or U S News or u. s. news but not US News since there is no space between
      U and S

Diacritics (special symbols, accent marks, etc.) may be searched both with and without diacritics. If a search is entered with diacritics, only records containing those diacritics will be retrieved. If it is entered without any diacritics, both records with and without diacritics will be retrieved.

  • The search for "caña" will retrieve only records with a tilde over the "n".
  • The search for "cana" will retrieve records with "caña" and "cana".

You may search for the following special characters in the WebOPAC:

  • at sign (@)
  • dollar sign ($)
  • number sign (#)
  • percent sign (%)
  • plus sign (+)

For more information about constructing a search, see What advanced techniques can I use to search the catalog?


  • Automation system, or integrated library system: a computer system that helps users search for library materials through a Web interface.
  • Record: a description of library materials in library-specific terms. Used by the automation system for searching. Records consist of fields.
  • Field: a designated area of a record. Examples: Title, Author, Subject, Call Number, Notes, ISBN, etc. Available search options are based on the fields indexed by the automation system.
  • Item: an actual book, CD, DVD, videocassette, magazine, microfilm, e-book, etc.