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Tips for Using Library Search

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

Search Results

The starting point at the Library Search page is the Everything search, which shows a small number of results from each of the information categories (Catalog, Articles, Databases, Journals, Website).

Everything Search:

Screen shot of Library Everything Search Results, for "health disparities"

You can always view all results in a specific category by clicking on the "View all [category] results" link.   

Catalog Search:

Screen shot of Library Catalog Search results, for "health disparities"


When you display a full list of results, the information presented will vary, depending on which category you display. But clicking on the item title, or on "Go to database," or "Go to item" link will connect you to detailed information or the full access to the resource. Be sure to expand the locations section in a catalog record to display all the access points and locations for a particular title.

Filtering Results

Again depending on the information category you select you may be able to refine or filter your results. For example, a Library Catalog Search may present filters for subject, format, language, publication date, library location, etc. while a Library Database Search may present type of database and type of access. Clicking on the available filters will narrow your final search results. 

TIP: Add the "Available online" filter in the catalog to identify online books.

Catalog Search:

Screen shot of Library Catalog Search results, with filters applied to search for "social justice"


Database Search:

Screen shot of Library Database Search results, for "social justice"

Sorting Results

Catalog Search

To identify new items in the library catalog, you can sort your Library Catalog Search results by “Date Added (Newest First)”, giving you a bookmarkable page that lists items matching your search query, with the most recently added ones at the top.


For example, if you conduct a Catalog Search for “Black Lives Matter” the default sort order is by relevance. Using the “Sort by” menu at the top of the results list, select “Date Added (Newest First”)


If you bookmark or copy the URL of the resulting page -- in this case, -- when you come back to the page, items that have been added to the catalog recently will appear at the top.