Library Search tips

Use Library Search to find articles, books, newspapers, unit materials and other resources. Your search results come from databases, the catalogue, open source content and DRO .

3 simple steps

  1. Type in your search terms
  • You can search by author, title or subject.
  • For more specific results use AND, OR, or NOT to separate your search terms.
  • For unit materials, type in your unit code.
  • Refine your results using filters
    • Target your results by using the filter settings to make preferences like: full text (online), source types (i.e. book, e-book, dissertations/theses, newspaper), year of publication, and database provider.
  • Once you find the title you're looking for you can:
  • Enlarged screenshot of Library Search results

    Get the results you're looking for

    Follow these techniques to get more relevant results from your search.



    Change the scope of your search with boolean operators:
    and/AND narrows your search
    or/OR broadens your search
    not/NOT excludes search items
    Search: child and development

    Search: fiction or fantasy

    Search: aids not hearing aids
    Brackets are used to (group terms together) so they are searched first. Search: (animal OR mammal) AND habitat
    Result: information on animals or mammals and habitat.
    Search for the "exact order of search terms" specified within your quotation marks.
    Search: ‘‘global warming’’
    Results: information on global warming, not separate topics including just global or just warming.

    Use N to search terms appearing near each other, in any order.

    Search: muscle N5 growth
    Results: information on muscle ... growth and growth ... muscle, with up to five words in between them.

    Use W to search for terms within a specified distance, in the order you entered them.

    Search: copyright W3 infringement
    Results: information on copyright ... infringement, not infringement ... copyright, with less than three words in between them.
    Add a symbol to the end of your search term to find variations of your search word.
    Common symbols are * ! ?
    Search: adolescen*
    Results: include adolescent, adolescents, adolescence.
    Substitute a symbol for a single letter of a word.
    Common symbols are * ! ?
    Search: organi?ation
    Results: include organisation and organization

    Search: wom!n
    Results: include woman and women

    Tip: combine a number of these techniques into one search phrase for really specific results.

    For example, search: (teenage* OR adolescen* OR youth*) AND (use OR usage OR using OR abuse) AND "social media"

    Need help?

    If you're having trouble finding what you're looking for, or using a particular database, we're here to help. Contact a Liaison Librarian or Library staff for support.