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Using the Library Search Interface

Search the library collections

Filtering Your Results

Sometimes, when you search for a topic in the library search interface, there will be an overwhelming number of results. In order to reduce the number of results you get to a manageable set, you can use the Advanced Search option, pre-search filters, or post-search filters. You can also use a combination of any of these search strategies. 

Advanced Search

If you would like to set more specific parameters on your search, such as wanting to search only one certain type of resource (for example, ebooks rather than physical books or journal articles) or wanting materials only published within a certain date range, using the Advanced Search option may be advisable. You can access the Advanced Search option by selecting the "Advanced Search" link located below the search button near the main search bar. 

University of Houston Libraries online search interface with Advanced Search option highlighted by orange circle

The Advanced Search menu will then appear. It enables multiple search boxes so you can include more than one keyword or idea in the same search:

Advanced Search menu on the University of Houston Libraries website. Two search boxes are highlighted in orange rectangles, with the first search box having the keywords "social media" inside.

The Advanced Search option enables you to filter out certain types of results before conducting your search. For example, you can use the "Search for:" filter and select "Library Catalog" if you only want to see results that represent physical items in the UH Libraries buildings, or "Articles+" if you want to have results that represent online articles available through our subscriptions.

You can also filter by material type (such as book or ebook), material language, and date of publication. 

Advanced Search menu on the University of Houston Libraries website. There are orange boxes highlighting several areas on the menu: the "search for" menu which allows you to specify "everything," "library catalog," or "articles+", the "material type" filter, the "language" filter, and the date filters.

Pre-Search Filters

The library search interface allows you to narrow down your search results before you start searching. These filters can be useful if you have specific results in mind. There are three drop down menu search filters located below the search bar: “All items” “that contain my query words” “anywhere in the record.” The "All items" filter can be changed to narrow your results down to one resource type, like books. The next two menus, "that contain my query words," and "anywhere in the record" work together. You can read them as a sentence. A search with "that contain my query words" "anywhere in the record" means that you are looking for your search terms to appear anywhere in the bibliographic information for your search results. The second drop down filter also contains "that contain the exact phrase" and "begins with." The filter "that contain the exact phrase" tells the search engine that you want all of your search terms to appear next to each other. The "begins with" filter is meant for searching for item titles and when you select this filter the third menu will automatically switch to "in the title."

The main search bar of the University of Houston Libraries website with the menu items "all items," "that contain my query words," "anywhere in the record" selected in a black rectangle

Post-Search Filters

Once you have done a search, you may realize that there are more results than you can realistically review, or that the results you initially see do not match up with what you need to find. The post-search filters can come in handy in these situations. 

The post-search filters appear in the menu titled "Tweak your Results" which appears to the left of the search results in a browser window.

A page of search results for the keywords "social media" in the UH Libraries search interface. The "Tweak your Results" menu to the left of the search results is highlighted by an orange box.

These filters allow you to narrow down the results that appear for your search. You can filter by resource type, publication date, library within the UH Libraries system, library collection (such as Special Collections or bound journals), subject (topic or academic discipline), author / creator, collection, journal title, or language. The "Limit To" filter enables you to select peer reviewed materials, open access materials, physical materials held by the library, or materials available online. Finally, the "New Records" filter enables you to select materials that have been recently added to our search interface results. 

Finding More Resources

The library search interface also allows you to expand your results beyond what the library has in the collection. The option to expand your results is on the left hand side of the screen under "Tweak your results." This can be useful if you hit a roadblock in your searching and want to see what else might be available from other libraries or databases. You might also find open access articles that the library doesn't have a subscription to but are still available for you to read. If you encounter an article that you cannot get full text access to, you can still get access by requesting the article through the library's Interlibrary Loan service.

the main search bar with the keywords "social media" in the bar and the "expand my results" toggle enclosed in a black rectangle