Help (Find books, articles and more)

Use Library Search to discover the Library's printed and online collections, together with millions of scholarly e-resources all at the same time.

  • Simply type one or more words into the search box
  • You can choose to search either 'Everything' or 'UoB Collections'
  • To search for words as a phrase, type quotation marks around the phrase, eg "climate change"
  • Use our Search tips below if you are not finding the results you had hoped for, or are retrieving too many or too few results

Search scope

UoB Collections - covers the Library’s print and electronic collections, including books, eBooks, journals, eJournals, theses, and more.

Search everything - a wider search that includes UoB Collections plus a huge collection of journal articles, conference papers and other documents from a variety of publishers and databases. Please note: For comprehensive searches for articles in your subject area, we recommend that you use the recommended databases for your particular subject, which may also provide more powerful search facilities.

Search tips

  • You can search for a phrase by enclosing the words in quotation marks, eg "global warming"
  • Use an * (asterisk) as a multiple character wildcard, eg climat* (for climate, climates, climatology, etc) or math* (for maths, mathematics, etc)
  • Use a ? as a single character wildcard, eg wom?n (for woman or women)
  • Library Search assumes you are searching for items with all the words you type in unless OR or NOT are specified between the words and phrases

Searching for a particular book?

  • Try searching for the author's last name and one or more significant title words, eg orwell farm
  • If you know the ISBN (International Standard Book Number) of the book, you can search for this (without hyphens, eg, 0751400785). If you do not find a result try a keyword search to double check
  • If you are trying to locate a book chapter, search for the title and/or the author/editor of the whole book
  • If you only know the title, try entering a few title words - entering a full long title is usually unnecessary

Searching for books on a particular subject?

  • Try searching with one or more keywords, eg history england or history engl* or "english history". If your search finds too many results, consider adding further subject keywords
  • Alternatively if you know the classmark of a useful book on the subject, you could use one of the 'Browse Search' Classmark options

Searching for books by a particular author?

  • Try searching with full parts of the name (initials will not work), eg stephen hawking
  • If you have the last name and initial only, you could use the Browse Search 'Author' option and enter hawking s

Trying to find other library materials, such as an eBook, a thesis, or DVD?

  • If you are only interested in eBooks, perform your search and then use 'Refine My Results' by 'Resource Type' and select Books followed by the 'Full Text Online' link
  • If you are interested in theses, perform your search and then look for the 'Refine My Results' by 'Resource Type' and select Thesis
  • To restrict your search to DVDs, perform your search and then look for the 'Refine My Results' by 'Resource Type' and select 'Audio Visual'

Using your results

Various options will display below each search result that may include Locations/Availability for print resources held in our libraries, or View Online for resources we have online access to.

Refine Results, 'Show only', and Sorting

  • When search results display, you will see various options which may allow you to refine by 'Material Type', 'Library', 'Publication Year', etc, and show only ‘Full Text Online’ and ‘Available in the Library’
  • Search results are sorted by relevance, though you can change the Sort to Date, Author, Title, etc, by clicking on the small down arrow symbol next to 'Sorted by' at the top right (and bottom right) of the search results.


For help or advice on accessing electronic resources, please email:

For subject-specific help, please contact your subject librarian.

For technical help, please contact the IT Service Desk.

Ask a librarian

Our out-of-hours service.

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