Using the Libraryís Catalogs

CATNYP is the online catalog of The New York Public Libraryís four Research Libraries.† It is easily accessible via the World Wide Web at† For general instructions on using CATNYP, please consult Using the Library's Online Catalog. The following information is specific to the subject of Philosophy.

CATNYP allows searching by author, title, keyword, and subject.† A subject search will generally yield more precise results, but only if you know the appropriate Library of Congress subject headings for your topic.

Some of the basic subject headings for philosophy include names of individual philosophers, different branches within philosophy, philosophical schools, time periods, and country:

  • Descartes Rene
  • Metaphysics
  • Ethics
  • Pragmatism
  • Existentialism
  • Medieval Philosophy
  • German Philosophy
  • Philosophy Chinese

If you do not know the Library of Congress subject headings for your topic, it will be easier to perform a word search. A word search will generally retrieve more items, though many of them may not be relevant. When performing a multiple word search, be sure to use the word "and" between each concept:

††††††††††† philosophy and eastern

After you retrieve your results in a word search, scan the record of one of the items that most closely matches your topic. You will see the itemís subject headings listed; by clicking on any of the links you can perform a search for items on that specific subject, if desired.

If visiting the Library, you may wish to search the Dictionary Catalog, most of whose entries now appear in CATNYP.† To search the Dictionary Catalog you can use the same terms you would use in CATNYP (see above).

If you need assistance locating materials, please see a reference librarian at the Reference Desk in Room 315.† If you are not in the library, you may also e-mail us for assistance at