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R-Search User Guide

This is a guide for using the library's Primo interface, sometimes known as R-Search or the library catalog. This system allows you to search nearly all of our resources in print and online.

Best Practices for Searching

R-Search allows you to use an advanced search function.  Below is an example of the advanced search in use, which has turned a broad search into something with manageable results (482 rather than thousands):

Note that you can restrict your search in several ways, including material type (books, videos, etc.) and a date range.  In the example above, I only searched for items published in the last five years.

When using the above search filters, you can use the +ADD A NEW LINE button to add additional lines to narrow your search more.  Each filter allows you to search from two sets of three options - boolean (which is described later on this page) and:

  • Contains - the filter has this word or phrase in it
  • is (exact) - the filter is exactly as typed
  • starts with - the filter word or phrase begins with the word(s) you type

Boolean Searching

Boolean Searching is the cornerstone to an effective search strategy. Boolean searching refers to searching using a combination of words and the three Boolean Operators: AND, OR, NOT.  These facets are available in the Advanced Search described earlier on this page.

AND will make your search smaller. If you are retrieving too many records on your topic, try adding another search term with the operator AND.

For example: "krispy kreme" AND marketing

OR will make your search bigger. If you are retrieving too few records on your topic, try adding another search term with the operator OR.

For example: (adolescents OR teenagers)

NOT will exclude a word from your search results. If you are retrieving too many records on an unrelated topic, try eliminating a word with the operator NOT.

For example: dolphins NOT football

Phrase Searching

To search for two or more words in the exact order in which they are entered you should enclose the phrase in quotation marks " ".

For example: "obsessive compulsive disorder"


Truncation allows you to search the root form of a word with all its different endings by adding a symbol to the end of a word. The truncation symbol is an * (asterisk).  This works like a wildcard in computing.  For example: advertis* will search for advertise, advertisement, advertising, advertises.

Field Searching & Limiters

There are a variety of predefined fields or limiters that you can search within. Some examples of fields and limiters in Advanced Search are:

title, author/creator, subject, ISSN, ISBN, material type, language, publication date, call number

Scholarly & Peer-Reviewed Sources

Has your professor required you to use scholarly or peer-reviewed sources? A scholarly journal contains articles which have been reviewed by a panel of subject specialists or experts prior to their publication. Another term for a scholarly publication is “peer reviewed”. These can be identified by characteristics such as thorough citation of sources in footnotes or endnotes, and use of discipline specific language. Some databases allow you to limit your search to peer reviewed journals, or index olnly peer reviewed journals; however, a peer reviewed journal might include some features (e.g. editorials and book reviews) which are not themselves peer reviewed. Books can also be scholarly sources; in addition to the same citation and terminology standards you'd expect in a journal, consider the book's publisher. (A university press is a good sign.)

Sample Searches