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The Literature of the Nonprofit Sector

How to Search The Literature of the Nonprofit Sector Online

Table of Contents
1.  Tips on Searching and Navigating
2.  Index Buttons
3.  Author Searches
4.  Title Searches
5.  Subject Searches
6.  Journal Title Searches
7.  Record Type Searches
8.  Searches by Year of Publication
9.  Keyword Searches
10. Other Search Features


1. Tips on Searching and Navigating
To begin a search, click on the search box for the proper field and type your search term(s). You may use upper or lower case (it makes no difference). Then scroll down the page to the "Submit Search" button and click. To begin a new search, click the "Clear Search" button at the bottom of the page.

Your first 20 search results will be displayed.  To view the rest, click the button labeled "Next 20 records".

LNPS Online returns a list of citations in alphabetical order by author, by primary author if there is more than one, or by title for works with no author. You can also choose to sort your search results by date in reverse chronological order by clicking the drop-down list at the top of the page and choosing "Year Sort".  For a shorter form that excludes abstracts, choose "No Abstract-Brief".  Some 65 percent of the citations include abstracts.

Use the "Back" button on your browser to modify your current search, or click the "New Search" link to begin a new one.  From the search page, you may choose to return to the LNPS Online home page, or to the Foundation Center's home page. Simply click on the appropriate link to do so.


2. Index Buttons (also called "Word Wheel")
Use the Index button to display the contents of a field.  LNPS Online uses Index buttons for Authors, Subjects, Publishers and Journal titles. Scroll down the alphabetical list of headings that appears and highlight the desired entry. Double click or click the "Paste" button to paste the term into the search box.  You can paste as many terms as you desire.  When finished, click the "Close" button to close the Index.

To find a specific term in an Index, type the first few characters in the "Find" box and click the "Go to" button.  The Index will display terms that begin with the specified characters, or terms that are alphabetically close.  Note that Index lists do not contain punctuation marks.


3. Help with Author Searches
Use the Index button to locate the name of the author(s) for your search.  The number in the "HITS" column indicates the number of entries by that author in the database.  You may paste as many names as you would like. Once you've made your selections, close the Index.

You may also type an author's name (last name first) or corporate name into the Author search box.

Magat Richard
Klein, Kim
Independent Sector

You may use a comma between last and first name, if you wish.


4. Help with Title Searches
The title search field includes titles of books, periodical articles, and electronic materials. LNPS Online title searches are performed on both the title and subtitle.

LNPS Online will find all records containing the words you supply anywhere in the title or subtitle field. A search for the title "National," for example, finds "National Directory of Grantmaking Public Charities," "American Philanthropy and the National Character," and "The Third Sector: Nonprofit Organizations in the National Economy." You can also search using the Boolean operators &, , and ! in the title field. For tips on Boolean searching, see "Help with Subject Searches" below.

TIP: Typically, for books in a series issued by the same publisher, only the most recent edition will be displayed in your search results. For example, a search on the title "The Foundation Directory" will find the 2005 edition, which is the latest edition of this annual publication produced by the Foundation Center.


5. Help with Subject Searches
Because subject headings in LNPS Online are assigned using a controlled vocabulary, your search will retrieve more relevant records if you use the proper descriptors.

You may use the Index button, or type descriptors directly into the "Subject/descriptor" box. And you may use the Boolean operators / (Boolean OR), & (Boolean AND)  or ! (Boolean NOT) between descriptors.

/ theater = Arts or theater (broadens search)
Arts & theater = Arts and theater (narrows search)
Arts ! theater = Arts not theater (limits search)

Records returned will display descriptors, allowing you to refine your search based on the results.


6. Help with Journal Title Searches
Use the Index button to view and paste journal titles, or type all or part of the journal you wish to search in the "Journal title" field box.

Advancing Philanthropy
NonProfit Times

Click here for a list of periodicals indexed/abstracted in LNPS Online.


7. Help with Record Type Searches
To limit your search to a specified record type, such as articles, open the drop-down list and make your selection.


8. Help with Searches by Year of Publication
To search by year of publication, type the year (e.g., 2004) into the correct search box.  To search by more than one year, separate each year of publication by a slash, e.g., 2004/2005.  To search a range of years, use a full colon, e.g., 1995:2005.  You may also use the greater than (>) or lesser than (<) symbols, e.g., >1997 will retrieve records published after 1997.

There are a very few instances where the actual year of publication was unknown or surmised at the time that the bibliographic information was entered into the database. You will not be able to search for such items by year of publication. Also, some reference books that are published as a series (every year or every other year) are given an "open date entry" — that is, the date field will contain the first year of publication followed by a hyphen, e.g., 1981-. Such serial publications cannot be readily searched by year, so it is best to use other search criteria to locate such reference works.

Searching by year of publication, while not very useful in and of itself (it invariably yields too many hits), is very helpful when you want to limit your search results to recently issued materials or to those published within a particular time frame.


9. Help with Keyword Searches
If you do not find the subject term you had in mind, you may wish to use keyword searching as an alternative. Keyword queries search in the title, subject, and abstract fields only.

fiscal sponsorship

Type your keyword(s) in the "Keyword" search field box and click on "Submit Search."  Words in sequence that you select to search on may be bolded in the abstracts included in your search results.


10. Other Search Features
Use an asterisk (*) to truncate words.

fund*. This will retrieve entries such as funds, funders, funding, fundraiser, fundraising, etc.

Remember, you can expand or narrow your search by using the Boolean operators

&   Boolean AND
/    Boolean OR
!     Boolean NOT

Keep in mind that using & narrows your search results, / broadens your search results, and ! excludes specified words from your results.

In order to locate foreign-language items in the database use the phrase in Spanish, in German, etc. in the Title search box.


Contents and Scope
New Acquisitions
How to Search
Locate the Sources Cited
in Your Search Results

Guided Tour
Search the Database

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