National Sea Grant Library Database


About Us

Digital Libraries

What's New


Search Catalog

Ask a Librarian

National Sea Grant

Site Map

Search the Database

How to Search the Database

The NSGL database is updated on a monthly basis. Full bibliographic citations and abstracts (when available) are provided for each document in the database. In addition, many documents are available here as full-text PDF or HTML files. To view and print these electronic documents you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader which is available free of charge.

You may search the database by title, author, and other fields.  The asterisk (*) may be used for truncation purposes. For more detailed options, please see the guide below. If you would like to search by Sea Grant institution or by type of publication, please use the appropriate NSGL code from the lists below (please note: the institution code must be followed by an asterisk; e.g. MDU*). Newly acquired Sea Grant documents that are not included yet in the database are listed in the Recent Acquisitions page.


Boolean Operators | Truncation | Multi-field Search | Report Number Search | Publication Year Search | Phrase search | Author Search | Advanced Searching | Additional Features | Limitations | Helpful Hints

Boolean Operators

AND Searches for records containing both of the words (narrows the search). e.g., lobster and aquaculture will find only records containing both lobster AND aquaculture in the entry.

OR Searches for records containing either of the words (broadens the search). e.g., lobster or aquaculture will find records with either lobster OR aquaculture in the entry.

AND NOT Searches for records containing the first term but not the second. e.g., lobster and not aquaculture will find records with lobster in the entry but will not find anything on lobster aquaculture.


The asterisk * may be used to truncate a search term. (Its use is suggested in most cases.) e.g., fish* will search for fish, fishery, fisheries, fishing, fisherman, fishermen, etc.

Also use the asterisk when searching by institution code. e.g., WISCU* will find all the publications from the Wisconsin Sea Grant Program

Multi-field search

You may search for terms from two different fields. After typing in your search term/phrase, you may indicate which field you would like to search by selecting it from the pop-up menu in the field box. The fields that can be searched in the NSGL database include:

  • Title
  • Author
  • NSGL document number
  • Other Report Number (one the program assigns)
  • Sea Grant Institution
  • Publication Year
  • Publication Type
  • Full Text (searches every field, including abstract)

Report Number Search

The quickest and most efficient way to find a particular publication is to search for either the NSGL document number or the institution's report number. Please note that the number must be typed exactly (with correct spacing and dashes; case doesn't matter however) as it appears in the database. Also if the institution's number was not supplied to us it may be missing from the database, so if you don't succeed try another search method.

Publication Year Search

When searching for publication year use 4 digits (e.g., 1995) in the term box and select the publication year field from the pop-up menu.

Phrase Search

You may search for phrases on one line in the search term box. Be sure that the words are in the exact order or you will have trouble locating the desired information. Please note there is a 32 character maximum limit for phrase searching.




law of the sea

title (or full text)

fisheries management

title (or full text)

narragansett bay

title (or full text)

Author Search

Authors can be searched a couple of different ways. You can put the author's first name in the first term box and the last name in the second term box and search the author fields.








Or you can search the author's last name and the institution code (if known). This method will also find documents where the author might have used a nickname or a first initial (the first method will not). However, it will also find documents by other authors with the same last name from that program, which you must just disregard.







institution code

If you are looking for documents that were co-authored, put the authors' last names in each of the term boxes and search either the author or full-text fields using the "and" operator. Hint: Using full-text to search for authors will also find papers from proceedings and book chapters that they've written, as well as works edited by them.

Advanced Searching

If you desire more flexibility or additional search terms, you may string 2 or more words in each term box and link them with the search operator of your choice in the pop-up menu to the right of each term box. The default (word or phrase) indicates ADJ (adjacent) so no change is necessary during simpler searches. Search terms must be separated by a space or a comma. The search operators allowed are:

  • AND (two or more terms)
  • OR (two or more terms)
  • AND NOT (two terms only)
  • NEAR (two terms only)

Example 1 (to search on a topic using several terms)

TERM 1: shrimp oyster clam shellfish

Search Operator: "OR"

FIELD 1: Full text



TERM 2: aquaculture farming

Search Operator: "OR"

FIELD 2: Full text


The above search will find documents on shrimp aquaculture, shrimp farming, oyster aquaculture, oyster farming, etc.

Please note: If the truncation symbol was used for these terms, the plural forms (e.g. clam* would find clam and clams and clamming) and other variations (e.g. farm* would find farm, farms, farming, etc.) would be retrieved.

Example 2 (to search for a particular document or topic by a specific author)

TERM 1: biomass community microbiota

Search Operator: "AND"

FIELD 1: Title



TERM 2: Fazio

FIELD 2: Author


The above search must have all three words (term box 1) in the title and Fazio must be one of the authors.

Additional Features (to further refine your search)

Two advanced features have been added to help you further refine your search. These new features provide added flexibility in searching by freeing up the main search term boxes.

(1) The first feature allows you to limit your search by range of publication years. The default is "all years". If you would like to search only selected years please use the pop-up menu to indicate the years desired. This feature is especially helpful if you are looking for the most current titles in a particular subject area.

Please note: The system goes back the number of years indicated starting with the last full year completed. For instance, if we are in the middle of 2004 and you wanted to search the "last 5 years", the years covered would include 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000 and 1999, as well as any portion of 2004 completed to date. Please keep in mind that in any current year, the Library is often still acquiring documents published in previous years.

(2) The other feature allows you to limit your search to documents generated by either a particular Sea Grant Program or a group of Sea Grant Program's within a particular geographic region in the United States. For instance, searching the "Mid-Atlantic" region will automatically search documents from the Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina and Virginia Sea Grant programs.


Currently special characters and diacritics cannot be searched from this Z39.50 server because they cannot be displayed correctly in HTML.

Helpful Hints

The search software is case insensitive (upper or lower case letters can be used).

Do not include stop words (such as prepositions, articles or conjunctions) as search terms, unless they are part of a phrase.

When searching by publication type you must type the NSGL publication type code twice (as shown in the publication type code list). The software will not search single letters.

After 5 minutes of inactivity your search connection will time-out. If this happens you will need to re-initialize the search form by clicking the "search the database" button.