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Searching: S - searching the Catalogue

Use this guide to learn how to search effectively for information sources

The Library Catalogue

There are two search options on the Library Catalogue:  A Quick Search and an Advanced Search.  The Quick Search is a basic search that will give you an idea of the numbers and types of formats held for a particular subject.  The Advanced search has more potential as you can combine search terms and therefore can be more specific.

Use the S (Searching), A (Accessing), F (Finding), E (Evaluating) and R (Referencing) method from the drop-down menu on this page to learn more about the Library Catalogue functions.

Searching the Library Catalogue


The QuickSearch is convenient but is limited because it only searches some of the databases and does not always bring up full text content. 

Type in a keyword or a phrase using quotation marks, e.g. 'religion' or  "academic writing" to find both print and electronic resources in the Library.  The keyword search is very general - and you will get a large number of results.  So for 'religion' you could get over 300,000 results.

The phrase search, i.e."academic writing" is a more focused search and it will bring up only those sources that contain the phrase "academic writing" making them more relevant. To you leave out the quotation marks, you will get too many results. For example,

academic writing brings up 8,000 + results; and

"academic writing" brings 700+ results

The second set of results are more relevant as they are about academic writing.  The first set of results may be about academic ... and also about writing.... So the search results could bring up information about 'letter writing', 'creative writing' and also 'academic writing' but you will need to shift through a long list before you are able to find appropriate resources to match your query.

Login to the Library Catalogue

Logging into your Library Account gives you the option to save searches, and to create lists.   You will be given your login details by the Library team once you have registered as a student.
You can also cite from the Library Catalogue, get a permanent link to the bibliographic record, email the bibliographic details or save the item in a list.

Advanced Searching

The Advanced Search  is the recommended option.  It will allow you to fine-tune your search using the Boolean operators AND, OR and NOT.  These operators can be used to combine search terms and therefore is a more sophisticated way of searching.  

For example, you can combine the keyword 'writing' with the phrase "literature review" using the Boolean operator AND, you will get a relevant set of results.  You can 'Add row' if you want and combine the search with additional search terms.  For example, you could combine

writing AND "literature review" OR "systematic review"  

You could add yet another row and use the operator NOT to exclude a set of results.  For example, try

writing AND "literature review" OR "systematic review" NOT science

This is an example of the use of all the Boolean operators but you are advised to use NOT sparingly.  


       OR expands search results

       AND limits search results

       NOT limits search results