Find help searching the U of A Libraries Collections.

Types of Keyword Searches

1. Keyword or Topic Search
2. Title Search
3. Title + Author Search
4. Searching for Books by Call Number


1. Keyword or Topic Search:

  • Enter keywords that represent your topic without any AND or ORs.
  • Results are listed by relevance. Relevance is determined by various weighted criteria, such as: which keyword search terms are present in a document & how many times they appear, the proximity of search terms to each other, and which descriptive fields contain the terms: Title, Subject, Author, Contents, etc.
  • Keep your search simple, then work with limits to focus your search.

Example Results:
Book Journal Article Database


2. Title Search (searching for a known item):

  • Enter the title or part of the title that you know. The Search puts the most weight on words in the title. Searching for title keywords works for any type of publication: books, articles, etc.
    eg: Plants of Kananaskis Country
  • Search tips: For a short title with common words, try putting the title in quotes. "Postwar America"



3. Title + Author Search: 

  • To narrow your search, enter the Author's name as well as keywords in the Title, eg:



4. Searching for Books by Call Number:

  • Type in the call number, eg: PR 4034 P46 2008. It also works to search for part of a call number.
  • Select "Books, media & more"
  • The Search will find your call number first, if the item is available in one of our libraries
  • The Search will also find you items with similar call numbers.
    ⇒ Searching for: PR 4034 P46 2008 will also find PR 4034 P46 1980etc.
    ⇒ If you want to limit your search to the exact call number, put it in quotes: "PR 4034 P46 2008"
  • Don't know what a Call Number is? Ask Us!
  • *Remember that searching for books by call number leaves out all of the ebooks in the collection.