Discovery Search Tool Information Hub

Discovery Search: What is being searched

Discovery Search indexes much of our online and all of our physical collections. By default, your search terms are searches as keywords against records of items in our collections, which can return many results. From our home page, you can perform a more refined search by changing the search type from keyword to a title or author search. You can search your terms as a phrase by putting them in quotes. And you can prelimit your results to just books (print books and ebooks) or just articles (from journals, magazines, and newspapers). You can also link to the advanced search screen, where you can choose among additional types and prelimit to additional formats.

After performing a search, you can further limit your results. You can see the currently applied limiter at the top of the left column in the Current Search box. You can quickly turn off previously applied limiters here. Useful limiters include

  • Physical Collection: Use this option to show just physical items in the collection and eliminate all online resources.
  • Scholarly (Peer Reviewed): Use this option to show just peer reviewed resources (mostly articles, some university press published books).
  • Source Types: Use these options to limit to particular format(s). The default order is by popularity in your search results, but Show More will allow you to alphabetize the list.
  • Subject: These are the applied subject terms in your results. Some are controlled vocabulary like Library of Congress subject headings. Some are author-supplied keywords. You will likely see many similar variations for a subject--select all of them.
  • Publication Date: Narrow your results to a range of years or a single year. Useful for when you want the latest research or contemporary publications for a historical event.
  • Databases: This limiter shows the source of the records in your results. One great use is to identify databases where most of your results originated. That may direct you to that database's native interface, which may have more advanced options for searching and limiting.

Finally, you can expand your results to include material not in our collections by deselecting the Available in Library Collections limiter (which is on by default). Your search results will then include items that display a link to request it through interlibrary loan. If your search does not return an expected result, turning off this limiter can help show a citation you can then request through ILL. Note that Discovery Search does not index everything, so you may still not find a result.

Known item searching

Here are some tips when searching for a known item:

  • From our home page, change to a Title search, enter the title in quotes, and select Just Books or Just Articles as appropriate
  • If your item is not a book or article, use the Advanced Search link where you can specify more formats
  • On the search results page, you may have direct access to the item above the list of search results, if you searched for a journal title, ebook title, or database title. Look for the box labeled "Looking for this Publication?"
  • If you see too many results, try some limiters: Publication Date or Scholarly (Peer Reviewed).
  • If you do not see your result, try turning off the "Available in Library Collection" limiter. You may then get a link to request the item via Interlibrary loan.

How can I learn more?

For more information including tutorials and a list of FAQs, visit the links along the right side of this page. For additional help with Discovery Search, we encourage you to reach out to your library liaison, use our Ask A Librarian chat service, or email us at