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Discovery Search Tutorial

Get help using our Discovery Search. Discover all the features that can help you find exactly what you are looking for.

Basic vs Advanced Search

Where to Start???

The Basic Search is simple, easy to use, and can be a good place to start your search.

However, with the Advanced Search, you can build a more detailed search--ensuring more relevant results. It allows you to pre-limit your search by using filters to search for specific types of content while excluding material you don't want. 

Basic Search Advanced search
  • When you are beginning your research
  • When you need to browse and access resources quickly
  • When you are looking for an overview of resources that are available
  • When you are doing in-depth research beyond the basic search capabilities
  • When you want to pick your filters before you search as opposed to after
  • When you are looking for a specific type of content

Wording Your Search

Enter AND your AND search AND terms

The default search treats all terms you enter in a search box as though they are joined with AND

Example: if you enter: pharmacy student education, it will search for pharmacy AND student AND education. 

Using phrases instead of single word search terms will help reduce the number of results and bring you back more relevant results. You can search for a phrase by combining single search terms in quotation marks " ".

So if you were looking for information on the education of pharmacy students, you would need to enter "pharmacy student" education. By putting the words pharmacy student in quotes, the search will know that you are looking for information specific to the education of pharmacy students and not any other type of students.


  • "human resource management" 
  • "stress fracture"
  • "Benjamin Franklin"

Boolean Operators


In searching, the terms AND, OR, and NOT are called Boolean operators. These words are used to connect your search terms and allow you to broaden, narrow, and exclude specific terms in your search. These tools are easy to use in the Advanced Search.

AND: Use AND to narrow your search by combining your terms so that each search result contains all of the terms.

Example: management AND leadership--will retrieve results with both terms.

OR: Use OR to broaden your search by combining search terms so that each result contains at least one of terms.

Example: “human resources” OR management--finds results that contain either term. 

NOT: Use NOT to exclude any terms so that each result does not include that term.

Example: “human resources” NOT management--finds results that contain human resources but not management. 

Multiple spellings, various endings, and unknown characters

Use truncation and wildcards to include various word endings and spellings. 

Asterisk wildcard (aka Truncation symbol)

To use the asterisk (*) wildcard, enter the root of a search term and replace the ending with an *.

Example: type comput* to find the words computer or computing.

The asterisk (*) may also be used between words to match any word.

Example: 'a midsummer * dream' will return results that contain the exact phrase, 'a midsummer night’s dream.'

Pound/hash wildcard

To use the # wildcard, enter your search terms and place # where an alternate spelling might contain an extra character. 

Example: type colo#r to find all citations containing color or colour.

Note: When using the pound/hash (#) wildcard, plurals and possessives of that term are not searched. For example,  when running a search for the term colo#r, the terms "colors" and "colours" will not be searched (which they are by default when using the singular "color" or "colour" without a wildcard operator).

Question-mark wildcard

To use the ? wildcard, enter your search terms and replace each unknown character with a ?.

Example: type ne?t to find all records containing neat, nest or next.

Trailing question marks (?) will be automatically stripped from all words in a query, as shown below:

  • Appendicitis: is surgery the best option? --> Appendicitis: is surgery the best option
  • Whose Justice? Which Rationality? --> Whose Justice Which Rationality
  • k??? --> k