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Using the UNH Manchester Library Search Box

Basic Searching

You can search very easily in the library search box. Just type one or more words that you are looking for and click the magnifying glass button. If you enter multiple words, the search box will return results that contain all of the specified terms.

Building a Better Search

When deciding what keywords you need to search for your research topic or question, try breaking your topic/question down. For example, if you are wanting to know what effect the media portrayal of the Black Lives Matter movement has on how positively or negatively society views it, you might follow this strategy:

  1. Pick out the important words and phrases: Black Lives Matter movement, media portrayal, effect, society
  2. Think of synonyms and closely related words for the keywords you just picked: BLM, Black Lives Matter, approval, culture
  3. Build your search string using operators like AND, OR, and NOT. The other tabs in this box give more information on how to use them!

You can do more than just a simple search with the search box by placing the following operators between words or phrases: ANDOR, and NOT. Searches with multiple operators are processed in the following order, from left to right:

  1. ( ) – Parentheses allow you to group search terms and alter the order of precedence

  2. AND and NOT – left-to-right precedence is used in case of multiple operators.

  3. OR – left-to-right precedence is used in case of multiple operators.

Although operators provide greater control over the search, the full search string is no longer treated as a phrase and search enhancements (such as inflection of a phrase based on correlation statistics) will not be applied to the query. For example, the following queries are treated differently even though they appear to be identical:

  • honey bee communication – Primo treats the entire query as a phrase and returns results in which all of the words may be closer together.
  • honey bee AND communication – Primo treats honey bee and communication as separate phrases and returns results in which both phrases may not be as close together.

Note:

  • The system assumes that you are searching for all of the words unless you type OR or NOT between words and phrases.
  • For right-to-left languages (such as Hebrew), the precedence is right-to-left.
  • Searches are not case-sensitive.

To search for an exact phrase, type quotation marks around the phrase. You can combine both words and phrases in your search.

For example, to search for global warming as one term, type the following in the search box:

Example 2:

To search for the phrase Black Lives Matter movement, put it in quotation marks like this: "Black Lives Matter movement".

Note:

  • If you do not enclose the phrase with quotation marks, the system will find items that contain the individual words in the phrase, regardless of whether these words are located next to each other in the order specified.

  • If a comma is used to separate words in a list, the comma must be followed by a space. Otherwise, the system will consider the comma to be part of the word and return fewer results than expected.

You can search for items that contain at least one of the words or phrases you type in the Search box. To do so, type OR between the words or phrases.

For example, to search for items with the word Irish or the word Celtic, type the following in the search box:

Example 2:

If we want to search for information regarding Black Lives Matter, we might use several different forms of that phrase, remembering to put full phrases inside quotation marks. "Black Lives Matter" OR BLM OR "Black Lives Matter movement". Every search result must contain one or more of the words/phrases separated by OR.

Note:

  • If you search for words or phrases without specifying OR or NOT, the system assumes that you are searching for all the specified words or phrases.
  • To use Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT) within search phrases, you must enter them in uppercase letters. Otherwise, the system removes them and performs a simple search that includes all search phrases.

You can exclude items that contain specific words or phrases. To do so, type NOT and then type the word or phrase to exclude.

This strategy can be useful when you're searching for a title or topic that shares its name with something else, or where the word has another meaning. For example, if you are looking for information about the religious text The Book of Mormon, you would need to weed out the results about the musical. You could do that by searching "Book of Mormon" NOT musical.

For example, to search for items with the word Celtic and exclude any of these items with the word Irish, type the following in the search box:

Note:

  • If you search for words or phrases without specifying OR or NOT, the system assumes that you are searching for all of the specified words or phrases.
  • If parentheses are not used for a query that contains multiple operators, it is recommended that you use the NOT operator last to ensure that results are excluded from the entire query. For example: cycling AND safety NOT helmet. If it is necessary to place the NOT operator elsewhere, make sure that you enclose the operation with parentheses. For example: (cycling NOT safety) OR helmet.

You can include the following wildcard characters in your searches:

  • ? – enter a question mark to perform a single character wildcard search. For example, type wom?n to search for records that contain the strings woman, women, and so forth.

  • * – enter an asterisk to perform a multiple character wildcard search. For example, type cultur* to search for records that contain strings, such as culture, cultural, and culturally.

You can use parentheses to group terms to clarify the order of multiple operators specified in a query.

Example 1: The following query searches for records that contain Shakespeare and either tragedy or sonnet:

When using more than one operator, it is strongly recommended to use parentheses to clarify precedence. For example, if no parentheses are specified in the above query, the system will apply the precedence rules (left-to-right: parentheses, AND and NOT, then OR) and instead group the words Shakespeare and tragedy as follows:

shakespeareExample2_no_parens.png

Example 2: The following query searches for records that contain either Irish or Celtic and do not contain Gaelic:

GroupingExample_1a.png

If no parentheses are specified in the above query, the system will apply the precedence rules (left-to-right: parentheses, AND and NOT, then OR) and instead group the words Celtic and Gaelic as follows:

GroupingExample_1b.png