The Advanced Search gives you more control over your search.

Field selectors

The first drop down (field selector) allows you to specify what part of an item’s details should be searched. 

When you choose one of these options, it will only search for your terms in selected fields:

  • Title: title fields of items, including varying titles such as translated titles, series titles
  • Author/creator: author and creator fields 
  • Subject: subject headings and subject terms assigned to items
  • ISBN: International Standard Book Number of books and other monograph publications
  • ISSN: International Standard Serial Number of journals and other serial publications
  • LC Call Number: Library of Congress Call Number
  • Local Call Number: Warehouse or Microfiche running numbers etc.
  • Publisher: Publisher or distributor
  • Additional title: Series titles, uniform titles, other additional entries for personal, meeting, corporate and society names 

Leaving the field selector as Any field searches for your terms anywhere in the item’s indexed information: title, author, subject, keywords, notes, etc.

Search type

The second drop down (search type) controls what is considered a match.


This will return results that contain all the search terms you have used, but the words may be in a different order and may not be as close together.

Example: title contains “spy from the cold” finds the book with the title The spy who came in from the cold because the terms “spy", "cold” are contained somewhere in the title.

It would also find other items that contain some or all those terms (in any order) in the title, for eg. Citizen spy television, espionage and cold war culture. It will ignore very common words like "a", "in", "from".

exact phrase

This will return results that contain terms that exactly match the search terms you have used, in that order. It is the same as using quotation marks around your search terms. It will find matching terms anywhere in the field(s).

For example: title exact phrase “to kill a” would find the book with the title To Kill a Mockingbird as well as the article How not to kill a cockroach.

starts with

This will return Title results that start with the exact search terms you have used, in that order.

For example: title starts with “one hundred years” would find the book: One hundred years of solitude, and also all other items starting with “one hundred years”.

We recommend you use as many terms as necessary to distinguish the item you are searching for.

AND, OR and NOT options

This helps to narrow your search (fewer results) or to broaden your search (more results).

To group search terms and alter the order of how the terms are searched use parentheses (brackets).

  • AND: returns results that contain all terms
  • OR: returns results that contain either term
  • NOT: returns results that do not include a term

Additional filters

You can also use filters to help you be more specific in your searching.

  • Content type - select from Any type, Articles, Conference papers, Conference proceedings, Databases, and more . You can also leave this set at “Any type” and use the Content type facet after you search
  • Published in the last - select a specific date or the number of years.

Advanced techniques you can use in basic or advanced search

Phrase searching

Search for exact phrases using quotation marks, e.g. “global warming”, “higher education”

This will return results that contain the exact phrase you have used.

Wildcard characters (* and ?)

The asterisk (*) will truncate a word to retrieve all the alternative terms  

cultur* will retrieve results that contain various alternative endings, such as culture, cultural, and culturally.

The question mark (?) replaces one letter of a word.

wom?n will retrieve results that contain both woman and women

organi?ation will retrieve results that contain both organisation and organization

Wildcards cannot be used as the first character of a search


Unless otherwise specified, a basic or advanced search will find results with all your search terms. If you type OR, or NOT (in all capitals) you can change this behaviour.

Grouping terms

Use parentheses to group search terms, and control the results by managing how terms are combined and searched for.

  email AND (security OR privacy)

This search will return results that contain the terms email and security, and results that contain the terms email and privacy.

If you are using more than one operator it’s recommended that you use parentheses to clarify in what order and in what combination the terms are searched.

  Shakespeare AND (tragedy OR sonnet)​

This search will return results that contain Shakespeare and tragedy, and results that contain Shakespeare and sonnet.

  Shakespeare AND tragedy OR sonnet

This search, without parentheses, will return results that contain either Shakespeare and tragedy, or results with sonnet. It will not return any results that contain Shakespeare and sonnet.