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Tips for Using Library Search

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

Basic Keyword Searching

Type the word(s) or phrases in the search box. You can use quotation marks to note phrases, and you can use AND and OR (in all-caps) to ensure that both terms must be in the results, or that one or the other term may be in the results.

Keyword searching

Example Explained
immigration Will search for items with the word immigration.
political science Will search for items with both the words political and science, in any order.
"climate change" Will search for items with the exact phrase climate change.


AND or OR searching

Example Explained
cardiac OR heart Will search for items with the words cardiac or heart.
mughal AND painting Will search for items with both words, mughal and painting, in any order.
("hip hop" OR rap) AND "critical pedagogy"  Will search for items with one or both of the words hip hop or rap, and the phrase critical pedagogy.
(polymers AND biodegradable)
NOT medical
Will display items that have the words polymers and biodegradable, and must not have the word medical.

Pro Tip: Put an asterisk in the search box to retrieve all items. You can then filter results with other parameters (e.g. format, location, language, etc.)

Advanced Searching

Most catalog and article databases have "advanced" searching features that allow you to create complex searches by combining elements, fields, or concepts. Library Search also provides an advanced search mode, the search fields of which vary depending upon which information category you select. You might decide to use the advanced search when you absolutely know certain elements, such as author name, precise article title, ISBN or ISSN, publisher name, etc., and you want to combine those certain elements at one time.

Screen shot of the Advanced Search form, using author = Johann Sebastian Bach, author = Yo-You Ma, and keyword = "cello suites"

Image: Advanced Catalog Search form, using author = Johann Sebastian Bach, author = Yo-You Ma, and keyword = "cello suites"

DOI or PMID Searching

While there is no field in the Advanced Search form of the Library Articles Search for DOI (digital object identifier) or for PMID (PubMed identifier), you can search for these unique article identifiers in the Basic Search. In the search box, type the prefix doi: or pmid: and then the string of numbers or letters. For example:

Search for a DOI, specifically doi:10.1164/rccm.1996P11

Image: Search for a DOI, doi:10.1164/rccm.1996P11

Search for a PMID, specifically pmid:30265024

Image: Search for a PMID, pmid:30265024