AGRICOLA is an online database created and maintained by the United States National Agricultural Library of the United States Department of Agriculture. The database serves as the catalog and index for the collections of the United States National Agricultural Library.

Help & Guides

Searching Tips
There are a number of helpful tips and hints you can use to improve your search results. For example, you can use Boolean operators to link search terms together; and/or limit the search to a specific title.

Note: Stopwords are commonly used words such as articles, pronouns, and prepositions. These words are not indexed for searching in the database. For example, 'the', 'for', and 'of' are stopwords. When a stopword is used in a query, any single word or no word is retrieved in place of the stopword.

Boolean Operators
Sometimes a search can be overly general (results equal too many hits) or overly specific (results equal too few hits). To fine tune your search, you can use AND, OR, and NOT operators to link your search words together. These operators will help you narrow or broaden your search to better express the terms you are looking for and to retrieve the exact information you need quickly.

USING THE "AND" OPERATOR: If you have a search term that is too general, you can append several terms together using "AND". By stringing key terms together, you can further define your search and reduce the number of results. Note: Unless you define a specific search field, the result list will contain references where all your search terms are located in either the citation or full display.

For example, type Soil AND Water to find results that refer to both "Soil" and "Water".
USING THE "OR" OPERATOR: In order to broaden a search, you can link terms together by using the "OR" operator. By using "OR" to link your terms together you can find documents on many topics. Linked by this operator, your words are searched simultaneously and independently of each other.

As an example, search Soil AND Water OR Greenhouse to find results that reference the terms "Soil" and "Water", or the term "Greenhouse".
USING THE "NOT" OPERATOR: In order to narrow a search, you can link words together by using the "NOT" operator. This operator will help you to filter out specific topics you do not wish included as part of your search.

Type: Soil OR Water NOT Greenhouse to find results that contain the terms "Soil" or "Water" but not the term "Greenhouse".
To further define your results, type: Soil AND Water AND Greenhouse to constrict the search to include all terms linked by the "AND" operator.
Grouping Terms Together Using Parentheses
Parentheses also may be used to control a search query. Without parentheses, a search is executed from left to right. Words that you enclose in parentheses are searched first. Why is this important? Parentheses allow you to control and define the way the search will be executed. The left phrase in parentheses is searched first; then based upon those results the second phrase in parentheses is searched.

Generalized Search: Soil or Water and Greenhouse or Sunlight
Focused Search: (Soil or Water) and (Greenhouse or Sunlight)
In the first example, the search will retrieve everything on "Soil" as well as references to the terms "Water" and "Greenhouse", and everything on "Sunlight".

In the second example, we have used parentheses to control our query to only find articles about Soil or Water that reference Greenhouse or Sunlight.

Resource Type