Search guidelines


Search by title, series or author



You can enter a single title (book, cd, movie, short story, series, piece of music, song etc.) in the search field. For example Tuntematon sotilas (title name) or Hopeinen kuu (song). If you are looking for a certain part of a series, you can write down the part number after the title (for example Suuri toivelaulukirja 3).


Many titles are published in series, where all the parts have their individual names but can be searched by the series title as well, e.g. Syrjästäkatsojan tarinoita (a book series by Enni Mustonen) or Sininen banaani (an easy-to-read series for children). Series can also be searched with the Title search field. Search results may vary depending on the search method.

Search with a single word

If you can remember a single word of the title name, you can write it down in the search field. The results will show a list of all the titles that contain the word. The more common the word, the more extensive the results are. The word can appear anywhere in the title.

No articles

There are often articles in foreign titles. These (the, an, a, en, ett, das, die etc.) are not used in the search.

Who is the author?

The author is the writer, songwriter, journalist, editor, translator, illustrator, actor, director, music performer, band etc.

A title may have several authors

Sometimes a titles has several authors. You can enter several names in the author field, but it is not necessary to do so.

Did you forget the author or the title?

If you do not remember the author name in its entirety, or you are not sure of the written form, you can write down the part you remember or just a first name or a surname. You can then narrow down your search results with the facets on the right.

You can also use the quick search. It will offer you optional keywords from which to select the one that fits your search the best.

For example: Are there one or two l’s in the name Mankell? After filling in four letters, the quick search will offer you options starting with the letters in question (author, title, keyword).

   Manke, Elisabeth 
   Mankell, J 
   Manker, Ernst 
   Mankell, Henning 
You can select the right keyword for you.

Combine or limit the search

It is also possible to combine search terms. You can for instance add other terms or limitations if you make a query by an author (title, subject, media type, year etc.)


Limiting your search


Limiting by library, branch and department

You can limit your search to a certain location by library, branch and department. You have to select library, branch and department in this order.

On the pages for Children and Youth, the search is targeted at children and youngsters’ departments only, and comes in handy when searching for solely children and youngsters’ material.

Limiting by media type

Using the media type limitation enables you to find certain type of material, e.g. audiobooks, CDs and e-books. Select the media type from the dropdown list. You can select several media types by pressing the Ctrl key while making the selection.

Limiting by language

You can choose the language of the material you are searching for. The most common languages are at the top of the list, but you can find other languages by scrolling down the list. Language selection targets also for instance at movie subtitle languages, and thus the result may contain material, the actual language of which is not the language you have chosen.

Limiting by publication year

You can limit your seach to material that has been published over a certain time span by entering the year or timespan in the Publication Year field.

Limiting by adding date

You can search for items by their age (1 week, 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, 1 year). In this case the search result consists of items that have been ordered or added into the collection during the selected period. 


Under category you can select Fiction, Non-fiction or Music. This function is not always entirely reliable. The result may not contain all the items that belong to the selected category. You can also use descriptors when you search by category. You may for instance enter a genre (thriller, humour, fairy tale, juvenile book, memoir etc.) in the Subject field. More information on descriptors below.


Information on descriptors


Search by descriptors or keywords

In the library, subject matters of the items are described with descriptors. Descriptors are helpful, when we look for information and material on a certain subject. Descriptors are predifined words, whereas a keyword search targets at all searchable fields, i.e. for instance title and author in addition to subject.

Controlled vocabularies

Descriptors are words that have been predifined as such. The library uses the following controlled vocabularies  for defining words. In addition to the listed words, all names (such as animal or plant species, place names or human names) are used as descriptors.  

Is it worth using just one descriptor?

The Ratamo collection contains a lot of material, and thus a wide descriptor (such as history, cats, Finland etc.) will retrieve a massive amount of material. A more specific descriptor will result in a smaller search result (e.g. educational history, stray cats, Kainuu etc.)  

You can also limit the search on the result page under the heading Limit your Search (by selecting author, subject, media class etc.) The list also often shows other descriptors that may give you tips for subsequent searches.

Search with several descriptors

Using several descriptors narrows down the search and makes it more specific. The more descriptors you use, the more specific and precise the search result is. You should, however, limit the number of descriptors to two or three.  

When you enter more than one descriptors in the search field, the search will be targeted at items, that contain all the entered words in their description.  For instance, if you want information on the history of Finland, write down: Finland history.

If the search result is not apt, change the search words

Sometimes the search result is not apt. You should check that the words that you are using are in accordance with the controlled vocabulary (e.g. YSA). It may be worthwhile trying out different search words and adding or reducing words in the search field.


Extended search always uses the AND operator, i.e. the result consists of items that contain all the search words.  

In advanced search, you can also use OR and NOT operators. You can find advanced search via a link in the instructions on the extended search page.  

When using the OR operator, the results will show items that contain one or more of the search criteria. For example search words Suomi historia will return items, that deal with either Finland or history. In other words, the search is not very rational, whereas Istanbul OR Constantinople might be.  

You can rule out a search word with the NO operator, e.g. Suomi NO historia will give you a result with items that deal with Finland but not its history.

Free-text search

Free-text search will search from the entire item description, not just descriptors. You may want to try this search, when you remember something but not much of the item, or when other searches will not give you the right result.

Search for songs and poems by opening words

You can search for songs and poems with free-text search, if you do not remember the title or the author. Write down at least a couple of words from the beginning (e.g. Wise men say). 

All poems and songs can not be searched by the opening line, but you might want to try this out. Some poems have been turned into music, in which case the CD cover or the sheet music may contain the name of the author. You will find answers to many questions concerning poems in the archives of the following service: Kysy kirjastonhoitajalta.