Library Search is a powerful tool that can help you find good quality, relevant information quickly. Using Library Search is pretty intuitive but there are some useful search tips that can help you improve and get the most out of your searches:
Keywords and Subject Terms
When you’re searching for information it’s important to use a range of related keywords to ensure you find everything relevant to your topic. For example, if you’re searching for information on ‘Climate Change’ you might also want to search for ‘Greenhouse Effect’ or ‘Global Warming’ too. Thinking of related keywords can sometimes be difficult but Library Search can help!
From your search results page, click on the title of a resource to open the resource record and scroll down to the ‘Details’ section. Here you will find a list of ‘Subjects’, also known as subject terms, used to describe the topics and themes this particular resource discusses. Take a look at this list and add any relevant words to your search string.
There are some other useful features in the resource record page that can help with your searches too:
Browse the virtual shelf
At the very bottom of the record you’ll find a virtual bookshelf, a visual list of the books that can be found next to this one if you were looking in the physical library. As the library is organised by subject some of these titles might be useful for your research too.
Read the abstract
A quick way to tell if a resource is going to be relevant and useful for your research is to read the abstract, a summary of the contents of the resource. On the resource record in Library Search, you’ll find this under the heading ‘Description’.
The Advanced Search function in Library search allows you to create a search that will produce more focused results. It does this by providing a range of search fields and drop down lists that help you build up your search.
Select from the options to:
- Limit your search field to the title, author, subject, collection etc.
- Apply BOOLEAN operators (AND, OR, NOT) to your keywords
- Filter by specific material types, languages and dates to focus your search results to the most relevant resources.
Take a look at the Advanced Searching page on our Finding Information Guide for more on how to combine your keywords, create a search string and improve your search results.