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Primo: using the library catalogue: Basic searching


The default Libraries search will find and discover different sources.

The basic library search can perform surprisingly complex searches. To begin your search you will need to enter your search terms or keywords and then click the magnifying glass to the right of the search box.

Take a look at the following FAQs to help:

Then, why not try using Boolean operators and other techniques to manipulate your search! Go to the next Searching techniques tab to find out more on how to search even more effectively. 

Here are some search tips to get you started:

Tip 1: Think about your keywords

If you're looking for a particular item, choose a few of the most specific words from the information you know about it, often a few words from the title and the authors surname are enough.

For example, to find the 2021 edition of 'Biology a global approach' by Neil Campbell  try typing Campbell Biology 2021

Tip 2: Narrow your search

Your initial search will look for books, journal articles, newspapers etc, so you may well retrieve many results. To narrow your search, check the options down the left hand side, for example:

  • Content type – select what you need . For example, 'book / Full text online'

  • Refine your search / 'Tweak your results' - use the tools on the left hand side menu in Primo to tweak the results you want to see. Tell Primo exactly what you want to be displayed. e.g. Select 'items with full-text online'. This will limit your search to retrieve and display online full-text items.

Tip 3: Add more keywords

Depending on what you're looking for, you may have to add more keywords or add the author's surname e.g. biology campbell. This is a more detailed search rather than just searching for biology.

Tip 4: "Quotation marks" 

When searching for phrases, it can be useful to enclose them in quotation marks. Just like searching the internet, if you are looking for a particular phrase try putting quotation marks around your term i.e. "principles of human resource management" - this will limit your search to items that contain these words in the exact order, rather than random keywords. 


"climate change"

  • This will look for the phrase 'climate change' rather than the individual words, 'climate' and 'change' anywhere in the record.

Tip 5: Review your keywords!

Primo will only find what you tell it to search for. If it doesn’t find what you need, review your keywords. Remember, when searching for books, make your keywords quite general; you can be more detailed when searching for journal articles.