Study Skills for Sixth Format Newcastle University Library


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Searching: Top Tips

Useful hints and tips when searching

  • Confused-looking toy robotIf your book is written by someone with a common surname, add their initial or first name to limit your results, e.g. Smith, Richard
  • Limit your search further by using the ‘Refine My Results’ option on the left of the screen. This allow you to narrow your results further by date, published, creator, library, etc.
  • If you find a few useful books with the same shelfmark number you can limit your search to find other items with this shelfmark. Use the drop down menu in the search box and select ‘Shelfmark’
  • If you are using the title search DO NOT include the words the, “a” or “an” at the beginning of the title

Boolean searches – AND, OR and NOT

You can use boolean operators such as AND, OR and NOT to refine your results by combining or limiting search terms.

Diagram outlining a keyword search for "milk AND sugar"AND will return you all the results from both keywords

Search: milk AND sugar

Diagram outlining a keyword search for "milk OR sugar"OR will return you results from either keyword

Search: milk OR sugar

Diagram outlining a keyword search for "milk NOT sugar"NOT will give you results for the first keyword but not the second

Search: milk NOT sugar

Diagram outlining a keyword search for "(milk AND sugar) OR (lemon AND sugar)"Combine OR and AND for more effective searching

Search: (milk AND sugar) OR (lemon AND sugar)

Asterisk/wildcard symbolDid you know?


Using * (the asterisk symbol) will allow you to search any deviation of your keyword

For example: “fact*” will find results for: fact, facts, factoid, factual etc

Search: fact*

Quotation marks

Using ” ….” will allow you search just for those actual words or phrases.

For example: “tea in health and disease prevention”

Search: tea in health and disease prevention