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Tips for Using Library Search

Provides some tips and strategies for effectively using the University of Michigan Library search engine.

Library Contact

Karen A. Reiman-Sendi's picture
Karen A. Reiman-Sendi
The University of Michigan
2178 Shapiro Library
919 S. University Avenue
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1185

A Note About Library Search

U-M Library Search is a search interface that allows you to search across several information categories curated by the Library. You use this interface to find items that the Library owns or subscribes to, such as:

  • books
  • journals and magazines
  • articles
  • dissertations
  • audio and video recordings
  • indexing databases
  • archival material
  • data sets, and
  • Library web pages

Many of the Library's online resources are discoverable and accessible through Library Search.

The starting point is the Everything search, which allows you to input search terms in a single search box and to display a small number of results from:

You can switch to see a specific category of results by clicking the category name below the search box either before you start your search or once results display. Note: Library Search works best with Safari, Chrome, and Firefox browsers.

Library Catalog Search vs Mirlyn Classic

Please note: Mirlyn Classic will be retired during the summer (2021).


Library Catalog Search searches the same data that is searched through Mirlyn Classic (an earlier version of the catalog search engine), but is designed to allow one to more easily discover related content in our libraries. 

While the Library Catalog Search and Mirlyn Classic search the same data, each is designed to search differently and offers different functionality. Here are a few tips for choosing which version to use:

Library Catalog Search works well for:

  • Discovering relationships between items, subjects, and concepts
  • Narrowing large numbers of results down to a manageable set using filters
  • Connecting to online resources in fewer clicks
  • Sorting by relevancy, author, title
  • Connecting easily to your complete library account, including interlibrary loan requests and your checkout history
  • Using modern features like adding records to lists for exporting to citation management tools

Mirlyn Classic works well for:

  • Browsing around a specific call number or an official subject heading
  • Finding non-Roman alphabet author names
  • Printing out a 'full record' that includes table of contents, subject terms, etc.
  • Complex or multiple MARC field searching
  • Finding course reserves by course number or instructor's name