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How to Search Internet Archive for Books

Search Internet Archive for Books

Time needed: 5 minutes

Search Internet Archive Library for Books by Subject! The Internet Archive has 7+ million free published books, so you will likely find far more books here than on any other internet site. The procedures for nonfiction and fiction books are much the same, except for a slight difference described in Step 6. Step 7 explains how to search for works by an Author.

  1. Nonfiction Search: In Internet Archive (https://archive.org), click on Books in the top-of-page menu. Mobile: Look in Main Menu.

    Then select the Books to Borrow icon (3.9 million books in copyright) OR All Books in the Featured list (7+ million).

  2. In the Search field, type subject:, followed by a broad subject term you’re seeking. 

    Put the term inside quotation marks (“”), with no space after subject: (for example: subject:”engineering”). Click Search this collection.

  3. In the search results, look in the left column for Subject to find a list of the subjects contained in the results. Mobile: Click “Filters” to get to “Subject” list.

    Click More at the bottom to open the full list.

  4. Select the best subject(s).

    Select Apply Filters. Your search results appear! Mobile: Scroll down to see results.
    You can return to the subject list and change filters.

  5. To further improve your Search — In the search results, hover your mouse over any book related to your subject.

    A metadata entry will appear, containing a list of Topics.  Click on a topic of interest to open more search results. Try this with several books. Mobile: Hover doesn’t work. You must open a book and look in metadata below the book for Topics.

  6. Search FICTION Books by Subject.

    Follow the same steps, but in Step 2, add AND fiction, after your subject term, like this:
    subject:”engineering” AND fiction.

  7. Search for Books by an AUTHOR.

    In the Search field, type creator: followed with no space by the name of the author, last name first, in quotation (“”) marks. (for example: creator:”doyle, arthur conan”). Click Search this collection. Try variants of the author’s first name(s), including initials, for more results.

  8. Please visit Century Past Free Online Library, where the subject searches have already been done for you!

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