We recommend using Library Search to get started with your independent reading and research, whatever your subject. Library Search will help you find printed books, e-books, journals and journal articles.
Keywords (or sometimes key phrases) are the main way of searching when you do not have a specific source in mind. If you're looking for sources for a course assignment or project, your assignment brief or essay question question is a good place to look for keywords to get you started.
When searching on Library Search using keywords or phrases, keep the following advice in mind:
"business plan"rather than just
"primary school" "assessment for learning"will only show you books and articles where both keywords are present.
You can use Library Search to look for the exact title of a book, journal or article you are looking for. There are two techniques you can use:
ti:interpreting qualitative data
"interpreting qualitative data"
When searching for resources by title, correct spelling is vital! Copying and pasting is a good idea; but if your search returns no results, make sure you check the spelling of words in your search and look out for American and British spelling differences, e.g. 'Organisation' vs 'Organization'.
If you know the name of an author or researcher whose work you are interested in, you can use the "author" search function by either choosing "Author" from the drop-down menu, or typing
au: before typing in the author's name.
Library Search is good at recognising the different ways that names are expressed (e.g. Fist Name-Family-Name or Family Name, comma, First Name; however, it will also search for both names individually. The best way of searching for author names is therefore to use quotation marks around the name in the following format:
"Family Name, First Name"
Using the Keyword search, you can combine search terms to include authors, titles or parts of title and keywords and phrases together. You do not have to use any special format to do this (except remembering to put "quotation marks" around any phrases). For example
Shakespeare masculinity "Taming of the Shrew"
combines all three elements.
However, if you want your search to be more specific, you can add the determiners ti:, au: or kw: before individual search terms. For example, if you wanted to find what Harold Bloom had written about Shakespeare's The taming of the shrew, you might search for:
"Taming of the Shrew" au:bloom
This short video will help you get up and running with Birmingham Newman Library's catalogue, Library Search.
Keep checking back in with your Subject Guide for more learning content from the Library to help you get to grips with the Information skills you need for university study. In the meantime, for practical advice and guidance on how to use key library systems, check out the Video Guides link.
Last reviewed: 14 November 2023