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Library Research Guides


Guide to using Mirlyn, the University of Michigan Library Catalog.

Basic Search

When you connect to Mirlyn, the default search is a exploratory, keyword search labeled All Fields. This will search for your word(s) or phrase(s) wherever they occur, and is a great way to get started with your catalog search.

You may also search by title, author, subject, academic discipline, ISBN or ISSN, journal name and call number stem. Use the pull-down menu to the right of the search box to change the search type. You may type multiple terms in the search box and combine them using AND, OR, and NOT (these combining terms must be capitalized).

The check boxes below the search box allow you to limit your results to  items “Available online” (when at least one complete volume, issue, or part of the primary content is accessible online) or "Search only (no full text)" (items that have been digitized, but due to copyright restrictions, are not actually viewable/only searchable).

Some special considerations for AND, OR and NOT: in two word searches, Mirlyn automatically treats the two words as if there were an AND between them; results must include both words. In longer searches, AND must be added between each term if you want all of your results to include every one of your search terms. If you perform a three word search and you want Mirlyn to exclude two of your search terms, you must include NOT prior to each of the terms you'd like to exclude, or use parentheses as you would in algebra.

For example:
Cat Dog
Cat NOT Dog
Cat NOT Dog NOT Bird
Cat NOT (Dog OR Bird) 

Advanced Search

Advanced searching allows you to combine two or more different types of search terms.  Click on the gray Advanced Search button below the search box.  On the Advanced Search page, multiple search boxes display different search fields as defaults but all can be changed using the pull-down menus.

Advanced Search - Refine Further

In an Advanced Search you can choose to refine your search further by adding limits:

Year of Publication: Type in a year or a range of years during which the item or items were published.

Library: Select All Libraries, or choose from a list including the Bentley Historical Library, the Clements, the UM Transportation Research Insitute, and the Flint Thompson Library.

Location: Select a location (e.g. Fine Arts; Art, Architecture and Engineering; etc.) and a Collection associated with that Library Location. For example, select Hatcher Graduate as the Location and Reference as the Collection.

Academic Discipline: Select from a list of academic disciplines to narrow your search accordingly.

Language: Select the language of publication; if you select English, all of the items in your result will be at least in part in English.

Format: Select special formats, such as newspapers, DVDs, maps, etc.


Search Tips

- There are no words that are excluded from searching (these are called stopwords). Every word will be searched.

- Use quotation marks to search an exact phrase such as "hip-hop music."

- Mirlyn uses a technique called stemming to modify your search to return more relevant results. For example, when you type bicycle in the search box, Mirlyn also searches for bicycles, bicycling, etc.

- You can use a plus sign (+) next to a word in your search string to ensure your results include that particular word.

- Don't know where to start? Try a null search (a search with no text in the searchbox) and use the facets to narrow down the results.

- When using Boolean search operators, make sure to capitalize them (AND, OR, NOT). AND is automatically implied between two word searches.