If you’re hoping to find something specific on OverDrive, give the search functions a try. They’ll help you narrow down what you’re looking for with several different criteria, so that title you’ve heard so much about will be just a few clicks away.
The easiest way to search for something on OverDrive is to do so within your local library’s specific collection (so you’re not looking for items that your library doesn’t have available anyway). So, you’re going to want to find your library’s collection on OverDrive and log into it first. If you need help remembering how to do this, see the “Find your Library or School and Sign In” section of our How to Use OverDrive tutorial (here).
Once you’re logged into your library’s collection on OverDrive, just follow the steps below.
To search on OverDrive
Click in the “Search” box in the top-right corner (it will expand so that you can see what you put in it) and type in a term that you want to search for. Then click the magnifying glass button beside this box.
Or, you can click Advanced Search to give yourself additional search options.
(NOTE: If you decide not to do an advanced search, then skip the next two steps, and go right to step 4.)
If you select Advanced Search, you will have three groups of criteria that you can use in order to find an item on OverDrive. We’ll go over the first two here, and then the third in the next step.
The first set of criteria lets you type in search terms to find what you’re looking for. You can enter an item’s “Title”, its “Author or Creator”, or its “ISBN” (International Standard Book Number).
The second set of criteria let you use drop-down menus to select certain parameters that you want the item you’re looking for to have. They include:
Date Added — Your results will have been added to the current collection within a certain time frame.
Subject — Your results will be from a specific genre or tackle a specific topic, such as crime, health and wellness, or nonfiction.
Format — Your results will be a specific type of media (e-book, audio book, video, music, etc.) or a specific file type (EPUB e-book, PDF e-book, MP3 audio book, etc.)
Language — Your results will contain content that is in a specific language.
Publisher — Your results will all be published by a certain company.
Awards — Your results will all have won, or have been nominated for, a certain award.
The third set of advanced search criteria — grouped as “Levels” — lets you use pairs of drop-down menus to choose ranges of reading difficulty within which your results will fall.
Interest Level — The age-appropriateness of the item’s content; it’s not related to difficulty.
ATOS Level — This measures word difficulty, including how many words are in a sentence and how long each word is.
Lexile Measure — This measures how frequently certain words are used, as well as how long sentences are (both in terms of number of words and number of characters).
Reading Level — This is an average of the above two difficulty measures, scaled by common school grades.
One last criterion that you can set — by clicking the check box here — is to have OverDrive only give you results for items that are currently in stock.
If you want to clear your search criteria and start over, click Clear. Otherwise, click Search.
In this example, we’ve searched for all titles in this collection that were authored by Mark Twain.
You can click the drop-down menu next to “Sort By” in the top-left corner and select to sort your results by relevance, alphabetical (or reverse-alphabetical) order for titles or authors, publishing date, date the items were added to the collection, or how often each item has been borrowed.
You can also click Cover or List in the top-right corner to change how your results are displayed (Cover displays more results at once; List displays more detail about each result). Underneath that, you can navigate between different pages of results. The far left arrow takes you to the first page, the left arrow takes you to the previous page, the right arrow takes you to the next page, and the far right arrow takes you to the last page. The numbers in-between represent individual results pages; click one to jump to that page.
On the left-hand side of the page, you can filter your results just like you could when using the advanced search options.
At the top, you can select to only see items that are a certain type of media (audio books, e-books, videos, etc.). You can also click the drop-down menus here and choose to only see items that have copies available right now, are about a certain subject, are at a certain reading level, and so on.
You may notice two options here that weren’t in the advanced search settings: Rating and Device. Rating lets you narrow down your results based on how other people who have borrowed these items have liked or disliked them. Device lets you find items that will work on your particular device (such as a tablet computer, e-reader, or smart phone).
At the bottom, you can even type in new search terms, and OverDrive will search for them in addition to any other ones that you’ve specified so far. So, for example, if I typed in “tom sawyer” and clicked Submit, OverDrive would search for items that have been authored by Mark Twain and that contain the words “tom sawyer” anywhere. This is another way that you can narrow your search results.
Once you find the item that you’re looking for, you can move your mouse cursor over it to reveal your options: Borrow it, Sample it, add it to your Wish List, Share it on social media, or get More information about it.
And those are all the ins and outs of how to search for media on OverDrive! Here’s hoping that you always find what you look for!