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 .

How to use Library Search

  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.
  2. 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.
  3. Once you find the title you're looking for you can:

Get great search results

Watch our help video on conducting a comprehensive search for more relevant results.

Refine your search results

Need help refining your search results? Check out our help video on using Boolean operators, or follow the below techniques to get more relevant search results.

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.