Library searching tips – part 1: What you’re searching from the ‘Search the library’ box.

Sharon Nangle
Friday 22 March 2024

This is the first of five posts on Library searching tips.

An image of the search box on the Library homepage. Search the Library's print and online resources. In the search box enter a keyword or phrase. There are two tickboxes beneath the search box to limit a search to eresources only or ebooks only. Beneath these are links advanced search, classic catalogue, and reading lists
The Library search box

The Search the library box, often referred to as “library search” is prominently located on the Library homepage. When you search here you are searching:

  • The Library catalogue – all the books, ebooks, journals, journal articles, DVDs, reference works, newspapers, music scores, maps and “things” the library has purchased, whether they are physical print resources or e-resources;
  • The University’s rare books and archives, museum, and photographic collections;
  • St Andrews research publications and  St Andrews theses (mostly PhD theses), in some cases this will include the full-text of the publication, and at other times this may just be the details of the research or thesis;
  • Records from most of the databases the Library pays for access to, such as Web of Science and Scopus. Some of the databases  provide full-text access to the content they include, but others provide details of research publications, such as journal articles and conference proceedings, the Library may have access to some of the full-text content mentioned in these databases, but not everything, so you will find details of things we don’t have access to when you search Library search.  We include the details of things we don’t have to ensure you are aware of as much of the academic research on a topic as possible.

Within the search box there are options to limit your search to E-resources only or E-books only, see the tick boxes under the search box. Applying the ‘E-resources only’ option will mean you won’t see any of the collections physically held in the Library, you will still see things we don’t have access to. Applying the E-books only option will mean your results will just show ebooks which staff and students of the university will have full text access to.

Beneath the eresource and ebook filters are three links:

  • Advanced search – this allows you to combine search terms or limit your search to particular fields (author, title, etc).
  • Classic Catalogue – this is an older version of Library search, you can use this to search most of the Library’s collections.  Unlike the main search box you can’t use this to search for journal articles by article title, or keyword, but it can be useful for searching for books or checking if the Library subscribes to a journal.
  • Reading lists – links to the reading list search box, where you can search by module code or title to find a reading list for a module.

So now you know what your searching when you use the search box. If you’d like to know more about how to use the search box, then look out for the next 4 posts in this series over the coming weeks.

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