What is LibrarySearch?
LibrarySearch is our academic search engine; like Google but for scholarly and academic materials! It is the quick and easy way to search and access our print collections and most of our online content from one simple search box.
What is LibrarySearch searching?
LibrarySearch simultaneously searches millions of items from multiple academic databases including: eBook and online journal article collections, conference proceedings, reports, newspapers, theses & dissertations, reference materials and open access resources, as well as searching all the items that are on the shelves in the Library building.
- Over 100,000 print books
- Over 195,000 eBooks
- Over 85,000 online journal titles
Why should I use LibrarySearch?
You are expected to use and reference good quality sources that are suitable for inclusion in your coursework at University. In LibrarySearch you can apply filters to only include peer-reviewed and academic results and you can be sure that all sources searched are of good scholarly quality. If you just use Google you will have to critically evaluate each item you find in order to ensure they are suitable for academic work; LibrarySearch saves you valuable time by doing the evaluation for you! Academic Libraries pay hundreds of thousands of pounds each year for subscriptions to online journals and eBook collections where original research is published. This content is not freely available via Google but is what populates the results in LibrarySearch along with our print items. You will have recommended reading for your subjects and you'll find all of these books, articles, etc. in LibrarySearch.
* We have also chosen to make much of our online subscribed content available via Google Scholar. You must be recognised as being from Abertay in order to access the full-text via Google Scholar - this happens automatically on-campus (within IP range) but off-campus you need to configure your settings.
What is not included in LibrarySearch?
LibrarySearch can't search all content in some of our more specialist subject resources so the following databases should be accessed directly:
CINAHL Plus with Full Text (most journal articles from CINAHL are included in LibrarySearch results but we would advise you search CINAHL directly)
It is also worth noting that there is a small amount of EBSCOhost content that is not available via LibrarySearch. There is about 80-90% coverage of these databases in LibrarySearch so if there's something you can't find, it may be worth going direct to the database and searching there.
For more details on how to search for your own subject area, see the Subject Guides prepared by your Academic Librarian
Why do I need to sign-in to LibrarySearch?
You should always sign-in (top right) before you start searching. Sign-in using your Abertay network username and password. Once signed in you can:
- Access accurate item availability and access options
- Access My Account to view loan information, pay fines etc.
- Save items and searches
- Export references directly to RefWorks
- If you are off-campus ensure you've signed in so that you see results from all databases - some may not display until you're recognised as being from Abertay (this will happen automatically on-campus but not at home)
LibrarySearch will often return a huge number of results so always think carefully about the keywords and phrases you use. To help find what you're looking for try these quick tips:
Refine your results using filters:
On the results screen you'll see various filters on the right hand of the screen under Refine my Results which allow you to limit results by content, subject, publication date, peer-review etc. Click to include or exclude and click Reset filters to remove what you selected if you end up with a very small number of results.
Use Phrase Searching:
If you're looking for a specific phrase, add quotation marks around it so that LibrarySearch will know to search for the words together in the correct order, this will give a smaller number of targeted results. e.g. "fuzzy logic", "global warming" etc.
Use Advanced Search
You can easily switch between simple and advanced search. Advanced search allows you to target your search so that you'll get a smaller number of results. Use the drop-downs to only search within a certain field: title, author, ISBN, ISSN etc. You can specify whether you want results to only contain your chosen search terms, match them exactly, or start with them. You can also limit results to a particular year.
Can I save items I find in LibrarySearch?
Of course! Never lose that crucial article again, just click the green pin icon in the results list and send it to your Saved Items. You must be signed in before you can save items for later. You can also choose to email result to yourself or export directly to RefWorks.
You can access all your saved items by clicking the pink pin icon at the top right of the screen next to your name/sign in:
Where can I get more help with LibrarySearch?
Click the FAQ below for more detailed help and instruction
If you have questions about using LibrarySearch please come along to one of our Library & IT drop-in sessions: Tuesday 11-12, Wednesday 12-1, Thursday 3-4 - held in the Level 2 Training Suite. If you can't come along to a drop-in, please pop your query in the web form below and we'll get back to you.
If you are getting unexpected results, broken links or error messages within LibrarySearch please use this web form to report the problem - include as much detail as possible so that we can fix the problem ASAP. It would be really helpful if you could include:
- The URL you are trying to access (click the ellipses (...) from the action menu in a LibrarySearch and click the 'Permalink' option)
- Details of the resource (e.g. ScienceDirect), journal or eBook title, article details (title, year, volume, issue, page numbers)
- ISBN or ISSN
- Error message text or even better a screenshot! (Press Print Scrn on the top row of the keyboard & paste into the email)
- How you got to the resource and whether you'd signed in or not
The default search type in LibrarySearch is simple search.
LibrarySearch is designed to be very easy to use. Just type one or more words e.g. a couple of keywords from the title plus author surname in the search box and click the search button (magnifying glass icon) or hit enter.
Note: LibrarySearch assumes that you are searching for all the words you type unless OR or NOT are specified between the words and phrases.
If you are seeing too many, too few or unexpected results, please see the More Search Tips and Advanced Search sections for more guidance.
Note: you should always sign-in (top right) using your network username and password before you start searching. This will ensure you see accurate item availability (i.e. how many books are available on the shelves to be borrowed) and access information as well as giving you access to My Account, Saved Items, and all other personalised services.
When you carry out a broad topic simple search, LibrarySearch may give you a helping hand by automatically expanding the query to include additional keywords related to the subject term(s). For example:
If you don't want to include results for the suggested term, just click the link to only search on your original keywords.
Selecting Advanced Search next to the Simple Search box takes you to a screen which allows you to build up a more complex initial search by specifying fields and combining terms.
You can choose to combine exact phrases or keywords in different fields, such as: in the title, author/creator, subject, ISBN or ISSN using the AND, OR, NOT operators.
Top tip: ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number and is a 10 or 13 digit number identifying a specific book or edition of a book. You get an ISBN for both print and eBooks and it looks like this 9781616554774 or this 1616554770. ISSN stands for International Standard Serial Number and is a standardised code which identifies serials titles, journals, magazine, and periodicals. You get an ISSN for both print and online journals and it looks like this 1087-0156.
You can also limit by date, language, and material type here.
You might want to use the Advanced Search if the Simple Search is returning too many results for your chosen search terms.
You can add a new line to combine multiple terms by clicking Add a New Line.
Your search results display in the middle of the screen in a numbered list. There are various options available to you depending on what the item is.
If an item is available to borrow from the Library you'll see 'Available from' in green under the title in the results list. You'll also be able to see at-a-glance where you can find it on the shelves as the collection and call number are also displayed here e.g. Lending Collection (794.815 SOL)
Top tip: all items that just say 'Lending Collection' are available on Level 3 of the Library. All other locations will include the level in the description e.g. Oversize - Level 4, Law Lending - Level 4 etc.
Click on Check For Online Access to view the online access options. If an item is available online from one source only, you'll be taken directly to the full text. If an item is available from multiple sources/databases you'll see a list of links and access date information via the View It tab. Clicking on your chosen resource will take you to the full text - you may be prompted to enter your username and password again depending on whether you are on or off-campus and which resource you're linking out to.
Next to each result in the list you'll see 4 icons on the right hand side: citation, email, saved items, and actions options:
Clicking the citation icon (quotation mark) will display the citation for any given result. The default display options is APA (6th Edition), a Harvard option is also available.
You can email results to yourself by clicking on the envelope icon.
Clicking the green pin icon will save the item to your Saved Items for later - you must be signed-in to save items and access your Saved Items
If you click on the ellipsis (three dots...) this will show you all the send to options that are available to you. You will also see these icons from the Details screen of any item:
From here you can send results directly to RefWorks, view the citation, copy the permalink, send to print or email the results.
Where there are multiple versions of a book available you'll see the following next to the brief result in the list: x versions available. View all versions. Click this to see a list of all available editions/years of the title. The list will display with the newest edition/year at the top and the older versions below.
The same journal article will often be available from multiple sources or have multiple citations in LibrarySearch. In the results list you'll see Article/multiple sources exist. See all: clicking on this will display the full list of versions via the View it tab on the Details screen. You can then link to the full text of your chosen version. Alternatively, click on the 'Check for online access' link.
Clicking on the title of any item will open the Details screen. Again, you'll see various options here depending on whether it is a print or online item: print details display under the Get It section and online links display under the View It section. Scroll down the Details screen to see all information and options available to you.
Whether you're using the Simple keyword search box or the Advanced Search form, there are lots of ways to make your searching more effective. Here are some top tips to get more out of LibrarySearch:
More search tips
Searching for a Phrase
To search for words as a phrase, type quotation marks around the phrase. For example "global warming"
You can combine both single words and phrases in your search to make it as relevant as possible. For example “information technology” ethics
Note: If you don’t put quotation marks around your search terms, LibrarySearch will find results that contain all individual words in the phrase, regardless of whether these words are located next to each other in the order specified. This widens the search and produces more results.
Searching for any Words or Phrases
By default, LibrarySearch will search for items that include all of your search terms. There is no need to include the operator AND between keywords.
You can search for items that contain at least one of the keywords or phrases you type in the Search box by typing OR between keywords or phrases.
For example, to search for items that contain the keywords Irish or Celtic, type ‘Irish OR Celtic’ into the Search box.
To search for items that contain the phrases renewable energy or sustainable energy, type “renewable energy” OR “sustainable energy” into the Search box.
Note: You must type operators OR and NOT in uppercase letters. Otherwise, LibrarySearch removes them and performs a simple search that includes all search keywords or phrases.
Excluding Words or Phrases
Sometimes you may retrieve lots of results on a particular topic which are not relevant to your research so you wish to remove them from your results. For example, if you only want to retrieve results on data mining not coal mining.
You can exclude items that contain specific words or phrases by typing NOT (must be in upper-case) and then the word or phrase you wish to exclude.
For example, to search for items with the keyword Celtic and exclude any items with the word Irish, type ‘Celtic NOT Irish’ into the search box.
To search for items that include data mining and exclude all items relating to coal mining, type “data mining” NOT “coal mining” into the search box.
Note: If you search for keywords or phrases without specifying OR or NOT, LibrarySearch assumes that you are searching for all the specified keywords or phrases.
Searching using Wildcard Characters
Some words have different variations that you may want to include and rather than do several searches for all the options we can use "wildcard" characters so that LibrarySearch will pick them all up.
You can include the following wildcard characters in your searches:
? - To replace a single character with a wildcard symbol use the question mark symbol. For example, type wom?n to search for items that contain woman, women etc.
* - To replace several characters with a wildcard symbol use the asterisk symbol. For example, type cultur* to search for items that contain culture, cultural, and culturally.
Note: LibrarySearch ignores wildcard characters placed at the beginning of keywords and search terms. For example, LibrarySearch will treat the terms ?aying and *aying as if you had searched aying.
Once you begin to combine operators such as OR and NOT you may need to use parentheses () to group terms together so that LibrarySearch can perform the search query correctly.
You can use parentheses to group terms within a query. For example, to search for Shakespeare and either tragedy or sonnet, type the following in the search box:
Shakespeare (tragedy OR sonnet)
In the above example, LibrarySearch will return results for both Shakespeare and tragedy and Shakespeare and sonnet. If the brackets were not there the search would return results for either Shakespeare and tragedy, or just sonnet.
We always recommend that you sign-in (top right) before you start searching in LibrarySearch. Signing-in ensures that you see accurate item availability and access information and also gives you access to personalised services such as My Account and Saved Items.
Clicking the pin icon next to a result will save it for later by adding it to your Saved Items
Access Saved Items by clicking on the pin icon at top right of the screen next to your name after you've signed-in:
The results you've saved for later are available under the Saved Items tab and you can add labels in order to organise them further. For example you can label them according to subject, module, coursework title etc. You can add multiple labels to each item.
If you wish to remove any saved items, just click the unpin icon next to it.
To add or edit labels, click on the pencil icon next to the saved item.
You can save your searches by clicking on the pin icon (save search) at the top of the results list. You can find saved searches under the Saved Searches tab of My Favourites in Saved Items.
If you have applied filters, these will also be saved so you can run the search again without trying to remember exactly what all you selected! Once you have saved your searches you can set up alerts and feeds to alert you when new results are available.
Finding a book
To search for the following title in LibrarySearch, search for 'study skills handbook'. If the title of the book is quite general, you could also add the author's surname eg 'study skills handbook cottrell'. This will find fewer, more relevant results.
Cottrell, S. (2013) The study skills handbook. Basingstoke: Palgrave.
Sometimes, there will be multiple editions of the same title. Always try to read the most up-to-date, but with many subject areas, there can be little difference between editions. Where we have multiple editions, you'll see a single item in the results list but it will indicate that there are multiple versions available. Click through to view all versions. By default, LibrarySearch will list these from newest to oldest so the most recent version will display at the top of the screen. Check carefully to ensure that you borrow the correct edition of the book you're after.
In the above example, you're looking for the 2013 edition: Cottrell, S. (2013) The study skills handbook. Basingstoke: Palgrave.
It would look like this in LibrarySearch:
You can see at-a-glance from the results that this title is available to borrow as availability is shown in green, and you can also see the location and call number i.e. Lending Collection and 378.17 COT (Remember: you must be logged in to see accurate item availability!)
To see the full details, click on the title of the book or the Availability link and scroll down to the Get It tab - from here you'll be able to see how many copies of the book are available and what the loan policy is, eg 1 week loan:
To borrow a book: take a note of the call number ie 378.17 COT. The Lending Collection is on Floors 3 and 4 of the Library, with the Law Lending Collection located at the end of Floor 4. To borrow, self-issue machines are located on Floors 1, 3 and 4, but please ask at SEZ if you need assistance.
Is it available as an ebook?
If the book is available as an ebook, it will have a link 'Check for online access':
Follow this link and scroll to the View It tab where the link(s) to the eBook platform(s) are. If prompted to login, enter your network username and password.
Print journals are shelved on Level 4 of the Library but that is only a small selection of the journals you have access to. The Library also subscribes to over 120,000 online journal titles which give access to millions of journal articles. LibrarySearch searches both print and online journals simultaneously.
When you are looking for a specific journal title you can either search for the title in the simple search box, or you can use the A-Z Online Journals link from the top menu bar. Make sure you have the correct spelling of the title e.g. Journal of applied behavioral science
Type the full journal title into the simple search box - results from our 'local' collection i.e. titles we own or subscribe to, will always appear higher in the results list. If the title is online only, it will say 'Check for online access'. If it is only available in print, it will say 'Available from Abertay Library Journal - Level 4' followed by the call number. There will often be titles that are available in both print and online formats. They will display as follows:
Click the title to go to the Details screen, from here you can see more information about the title and the View It and Get It tabs.
View It - displays all available links to the online content (sometimes there will only be one link and sometimes multiple links) plus the years we have access to. If there are any additional notes about access delays etc. they will also display in the View It tab.
Get It - displays all information about the print items that are available on Level 4 of the Library such as the call number, holdings info (i.e. how many years/volumes/issues are available on the shelves), loan policy, and any other notes about missing issues or if the title has been cancelled etc. The loan policy of print journals is always Not Loanable as they can't be borrowed and are for reference use in the Library only.
A-Z Online Journals
From the top blue banner of LibrarySearch you can click the A-Z Online Journals link. From here you can search by title or ISSN or browse alphabetical lists of online journal titles.
Top tip: ISSN stands for International Standard Serial Number and is a standardised code which identifies serials titles, journals, magazine, and periodicals. You get an ISSN for both print and online journals and it looks like this 1087-0156
Again, make sure you check the access information carefully to ensure you can get to the full-text of the item you're after. You need to click through to the View It tab in the Details screen by clicking the title in order to see this access information.
Top tip: The year that displays in the results list relates to the year the title was first published with a certain publisher and is not always the same as the date our full-text access starts from.
If you use the A-Z Online Journals link and get no results for the title you're looking for, it may be that it is only available in print so you would have to use the simple search instead.
LibrarySearch is searching over 185,000 eBooks and millions of journal articles at once so is the quickest and easiest way for you to find online items. Whether you're looking for a book or a journal article, the process is the same.
Finding a journal article
You may have a citation that looks like this:
Loes, C.N., Salisbury, M.H. and Pascarella, E.T. (2015) ‘Student perceptions of effective instruction and the development of critical thinking: a replication and extension’, Higher Education, 69(5), pp. 823-838. doi: 10.1007/s10734-014-9807-0.
Again, you would either pick out keywords from the article title and add in author surname, or search for the article title. In this example you are looking for ‘Student perceptions of effective instruction and the development of critical thinking: a replication and extension’
As you know that this is journal article, you can add additional filters from the right-hand menu if required. You can select to only return Full text Online results and only Content Type = Articles.
The same journal article can often be available from multiple publisher platforms and this will be indicated in the results list as 'Multiple sources exist. see all'
As with the eBook example, you click through to the Details screen by clicking the title and scroll down to the View It tab. From the View It tab you can click on the link to go directly to the full-text article on the publisher platform. You may be prompted to login again with your network username and password before accessing the article.
Clicking the 'Check for Online Access' link will open the service page listing all available links to the full-text. If only one source exists, clicking the link will take you straight there.
If all copies of the item you need are out on loan, don't worry! You can use LibrarySearch to place a request on the item and get an email notification when it is ready for you to collect from SEZ.
Placing a request
Find the book you need in LibrarySearch - the status in the results list will show as 'Checked out from Abertay Library' in grey. The Get it tab from the Details page (click the title link to get here) will show that there are zero available copies and the Status will show that it is on loan and when it is due back.
Note: if you had not signed in before searching, you won't see the Request button here. You will see a yellow banner with 'Sign-in for more options' - once you've signed in you'll be able to request the item.
Click on Request and complete the details.
Top tip: click on the Loan policy drop-down arrow to check whether there are different loan types available. You might prefer to select a 4 week loan rather than 1 week loan. Otherwise, you'll receive the first available copy. If you won't need the book after a certain date, you can add that to the request too. Once completed, click the green Request button. You're request has now been submitted to the Library!
Note: the pickup location is always Abertay Library and can't be changed.
What happens next?
You will receive an email to your Abertay email address telling you when the item you've requested is available to be borrowed. You can collect it from the SEZ desk on Level 1 of the Library. As with all other loans, you must have your student card with you to be eligible for borrowing.
Can I cancel my request?
If you decide you no longer need the item you've requested it is very easy to cancel it.
Just go to LibrarySearch and sign in then click on your name at the top right of the screen and select My Account or, you can go to your account directly at
In My Account you'll see a Request tab - from here you'll see all active requests and their status plus a cancel button next to each one. Just click on cancel and we'll remove your request from the queue for you. Simple as that!