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Library Search beta FAQ

This diagram illustrates what's in Primo Central. A large circle represents all of Primo's content. Inside is a smaller circle representing all Purdue catalog content and a larger circle which represents all of the articles available in research databases. This larger circle overlaps and extends outside of the Primo circle, illustrating that not all articles will be available through Primo.



What is Library Search beta?

Library Search beta is a search engine that provides credible, relevance ranked results from the Library's online and print collections in a single search.

It includes everything found in the Library's Catalog, plus a lot of the content available through the Library's databases.

Try searching in Library Search beta when you might otherwise search Google Scholar, the Library Catalog, or a research database like JSTOR. Library Search beta is not intended to entirely replace these other search tools, but we hope that it will be a much-valued addition to your research toolkit.

What's in Library Search beta? What's not in Library Search beta?

Library Search beta includes hundreds of millions of records for books, journal articles, e-books and e-journals, news articles, and much more. It includes everything found in the Library Catalog, ePubs and eArchives, plus information usually found in research databases.

Library Search beta may include some or all of the databases and journals that you already use. Some databases and journals allow full-text searching, others include only citation information (e.g., title, author, abstract, etc.), but may be accessible from Library Search beta via SFX links.

What sources are included in Library Search beta?

Coming soon.

How does Library Search beta compare to the Purdue catalog?

Library Search beta includes everything that is in the Purdue catalog, plus hundreds of millions of scholarly articles and online records provided through the deep-search interface into the Primo Central Index.

What subjects does Library Search beta search?

Most subjects are covered, but the Library's Research Guides also offer recommendations for the best resources for each Purdue academic department.

What is the difference between Everything and Purdue University Collections?

"Everything" is the default search option. Use it to search for books, journal articles, conference proceedings, newspaper articles, etc. Purdue University Collections limits your search to the Library Catalog, ePubs and eArchives collections.

I can't access the [article, e-book, etc.] in Library Search beta

If you're searching Library Search beta from off-campus, you will need to authenticate as a Purdue user to access online resources. In case you're not prompted automatically, go to our "Connect from Home" page to log in.

I can't find [an article, book, resource] in Library Search beta. Where can I find it?

Can't find a book in Library Search beta? Try:

  • Limiting your search results to "Resource Type: Book" using the facets on the left-hand side of the search results page

  • Doing an advanced search in Library Search beta

  • Doing a "Title" search in Library Search beta

    Can't find an article in Library Search beta? Try:


    Using an "exact" search under the search tab to narrow your results. Some articles are not findable in Library Search beta (it does not provide 100% coverage of our journal collection). To do a thorough article search, look up the journal title and determine if the Library subscribes to the journal. Then browse by year/issue to find the right article.

    Can't find a journal in Library Search beta? Try:

    Clicking on the eJournals link and searching for the title there.

    Doesn't look like the Library owns the item?

    Make an interlibrary loan request

    When I do a search in Library Search beta, I get many results. How can I refine my search to find exactly what I'm looking for?

    Searches in Library Search beta often yield an overwhelmingly large number of results. To help find what you're looking for faster, try these search tips.

    Use the precise search options in Library Search beta:

    Try Phrase Searching

    Library Search beta allows for phrase searching with the use of " ". The query "teacher education" will find results with that phrase.

    Try the Advanced Search

    Use the advanced search to search within the title, author, and subject fields. You can also limit your search by publication date, resource type, and language

    Refine Your Search Results

    Use the "Refine My Results" options on the left-hand side to limit by Resource Type, Subject, Publication Date, Author, Language, and more.

    Does Library Search beta include everything in a specific research databases?

    Library Search beta's vendor, ExLibris, works directly with publishers to obtain permissions to index specific journals, newspapers and other serials. Publication data can come from any number of places: direct from the publisher, or from an intermediate database.

    For this reason, we don't know exactly what the overlap is between Library Search beta's content and the content found in specialized research databases. In some cases it might be close to 100%, in others, 50-75%.

    How does Library Search beta compare to Google Scholar?

    Library Search beta and Google Scholar are both search engines that let you quickly search across a massive index of scholarly information.

    Library Search beta and Google Scholar search different bodies of scholarly content. There is overlap, but there is content findable in Library Search beta but not Google Scholar, and vice-versa. The two search engines perform relevance ranking in very different ways.

    Some features unique to Library Search beta:

    • Results are reflective of the Purdue University collection -- as a library patron, you have access to mostly everything you can find in Library Search beta, with the exception of when you choose to "Expand My Results" in your search.
    • Find print/physical material in the Library collection -- Library Search beta contains all Purdue Library Catalog records and can be used for finding print material and media in the library.
    • Useful search refinements:
      • "Limit to articles from peer-review journals"
      • "Limit to items in a specific library location (Humanities Library, Physics Library etc.)"
      • Select item records to email, print, cite, export to
      • RefWorks/EndNote/BibTex

    Some features unique to Google Scholar:

    • "Cited by" information -- e.g. "Cited by 402 publications" (Note: Library Search beta does include citation information from Web of Science).
    • Google Books content

    How does Library Search beta's relevance ranking work?

    Library Search beta's sophisticated relevance ranking algorithm is a 'trade secret' of the software developers at ExLibris, so we are unable to explain exactly how it works. However, it usually gives priority to "exact title" matches on your search keywords.

    For instance: a search for "practical grammar" will return items with the exact title "practical grammar" at the top. A search for "the practical grammar" will return almost identical results, but with priority given to titles with "the" in them.

    How do the facets in the search results work?

    Facets appear on the left-hand side of the search results screen and can help you to refine your search results.

    By clicking on any of the facet values you can limit your search results to only results with these values.

    Facets are dynamically generated from the top 200 relevant results. The number for each value is taken from the full set of results.

    You can also click the more selections link beneath a set of facets. This will allow you to choose multiple options for inclusion or exclusion within a group of facets.

    This is an example of facets:

    Screenshot of the facets column on a search results screen

    It's not clear why an item was returned in my search results?

    Library Search beta includes article citation information as well as full-text information. It may be that the search term is matching somewhere in the full-text.

    How is peer-reviewed determined in Library Search beta?

    Library Search beta uses a list of peer-reviewed journals supplied by SFX (GetIt@Purdue) to determine what is peer-reviewed.

    Will Library Search beta change over time?

    The Library Search beta software is relatively new and is expected to change and improve as new features are implemented and new content is added.

    Library Search beta is an example of "software as a service." The Library has a license with the vendor ExLibris to provide Library Search beta for the Library's collection. In this sense, it is more similar to the Library's various article databases (e.g. Web of Science) than it is to the Library's Catalog system (a locally-hosted software system that experiences major but infrequent upgrades).

    Do I need to "Sign in" to search Library Search beta?

    To search Library Search beta's complete holdings, you will need to "Sign in"

    How can I give feedback?

    Provide feedback using the "feedback" link at the top of the Library Search beta search page.