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Library search help

Keyword searching

Start your search by typing a keyword or phrase into the Search box, then click Search. You will see a list of all the Library resources matching your search terms.

  • Results are sorted by relevancy but can be sorted by date
  • You can limit your results using the filters listed to the left of the search results.

Watch this video to begin to use Library Search to find study and research resources held by the Libraries:

Search techniques

There are different techniques you can use to expand or narrower the number and relevance of your results.


Use the author's surname and a meaningful word from the title of the work to quickly find the item and related works.

Shakespeare Midsummer will find "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and related works.

Orwell farm will find "Animal Farm" and related works.

Phrase and proximity searching

Phrase searching finds items containing both words occurring together. Exact matches on words within a phrase search (with double quotes) get a higher relevancy boost over the same words in non-phrase searches (without double quotes).

"transport pollution" will find items containing both words together in that order

transport pollution will find items containing both words in any order.

"word1 word2"~n will find items where both words appear within n words of each other - where n can be any whole number eg 1, 10, 100

"transport pollution"~5 matches "pollution that comes from transport", "pollution transport", "transport of air pollution", "pollution and emissions transport" and other variations.

Truncation and wildcards

Use an asterisk to find items that begin with the word stem but have alternative endings.

transport* will find transport, transports, transportation, transporting, transported

When an asterisk is used within a word it will match zero or more characters.

ch*ter will match charter, character, and chapter

Use a question mark within a word to match a single character.

waste minimi?ation will find items about waste minimization or waste minimisation.

Boolean operators

The Library search uses the Boolean operators: AND, OR, and NOT. Operators must be written in capital letters to work.

traffic OR transport will find items containing one of the words. It increases the number of results and is generally used with synonyms.

traffic AND pollution will find items that contain both the words. It decreases the number of results and is generally used with different concepts.

mustang NOT animal will find items that include the term "mustang" and remove all the results with the term "animal".

An alternative to the NOT operator is to use the minus sign (-) character before a term (no space between minus sign and term).

mustang -animal gives the same results as -animal mustang, which gives the same results as mustang NOT animal

Combining boolean operators

In a query containing multiple Boolean operators, operators work sequentially from left to right as the operators appear in the query. If a query contains parentheses (), operators within parentheses are processed first.

(traffic OR transport) AND pollution will find items containing either the words "traffic" and "pollution" or the words "transport" and "pollution".

Any of the operators can be combined with phrase searches.

"teacher education" OR "educator training" will find results that include either complete phrase.