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YorSearch help

Finding what you need with YorSearch | #UoYTips from University of York Library

The new Library catalogue

For the 2019/20 academic year we’ve introduced a new and much improved version of YorSearch.

A key change is that there is now just one search box which searches across University of York Library holdings and beyond, to find articles, books, journals, audio-visual materials, government publications and many other types of source. If you preferred Search Everything on the previous catalogue you’ll be familiar with how this works, but if you haven’t then you’ll find your searches bringing back a lot more results than you’re used to, with a wider variety of sources and materials.

Tip: if you wish to find a book or journal and NOT bring back results for articles, newspapers and so on, limit your results to ‘Books’ either before or after you search.

YorSearch opening screenshot

Further help

For help on more systematic searching of information sources, (published or unpublished, hard copy or electronic), contact your Academic Liaison Librarian via the Subject Guides.

We will have some of the items you find on here within the Library buildings, in which case you will be shown information about how many copies we have, where to find them, and whether any or all are out on loan. A large number of our books and journals are online, in which case there will be a link to them from YorSearch.

We recommend you log in to YorSearch when using it: this allows you to easily Favourite items, and to request books when all copies are out on loan.

There are other ways to find our resources too. YorSearch is excellent for keyword searching - you can type in your terms and quickly find relevant resources. However, sometimes you may wish to browse resources which have been curated by subject, in which case the Subject Guides we’ve created for each Department may be useful:

Go to the Subject Guides homepage

We also have our E-resources guide which lists all of our databases in one place, and allows you to search by category - for example, you can find all of our newspaper resources, or government publications:

Go to the E-resources Guide

Using YorSearch

Basic search

YorSearch is designed to be very simple to use. Just type one or more words into the search box and press Enter or click Search.

Note: YorSearch assumes you are searching for items with all the words you type in unless OR or NOT are specified between the words and phrases.

Phrase searching: To force YorSearch to search for a particular phrase, put it in quotation marks. For example, searching for “climate change” will bring back only results that include that exact phrase, whereas searching for climate change will bring back any resources which include both those words, even if they’re not used together.

If you are not finding the results you hoped for or are retrieving too many or too few results, see Search tips and Advanced search.

Using the results

The brief results

In the centre of the results screen is a list of items that include your search words.

Let’s take a look at a Book first:

YorSearch book example

You’ll see a preview of the cover, alongside the word ‘Book’ to identify the type of resource, then the title and author details. Below this you’ll see information telling you whether we have any copies available, and where they’re located. You can click on the title or the availability information to get more details about the item.

At the top right of each result are four icons. The quotation marks bring up a citation or reference for the item; the envelope allows you to email the details of the item to yourself or others, and the Pin icon will add the item to your Favourites, accessed from the same icon at the top of the YorSearch screen. The three dots bring up several more options.

Here’s a result for an Article:

YorSearch article example

Many of the details are the same as for the Book. There is added information about exactly which journal the article is from, and in this case a label indicating that the item is Peer Reviewed (meaning it has been checked before publication by other experts in the field, for accuracy and bias).

Then there are three options around availability. Full text available will always be present for articles, and clicking it will show you links to all the publisher websites we have access to which offer this PDF - we may subscribe to one journal through more than one provider. When you click one of these you’ll be taken to the Article on the journal’s website, giving you more information and allowing you to browse for other articles from the same edition.

When the option to go straight to the article is available, you’ll see Download PDF. This will save a lot of time for those who just want to read the article in question, rather than to explore the journal more widely, and will open the PDF in a new tab of your browser.

Finally if you see View Issue Contents it means you can view this edition of the journal in BrowZine, a useful interface which allows you to curate the journals and articles you need.

Refining your search

YorSearch categorises items in a way that gives you options to limit your search, refining your results to be more specific.

After you have searched and retrieved a results list, you can choose, for example, only to look at the results that are by a certain author, or those that are published in a particular date range, or in a certain language.

After you have searched your terms, use the options in the menu on the right of the results screen to do this. The number of results in each category is shown in brackets.

Advanced search

Selecting Advanced Search next to the initial search box takes you to a form that allows you to be more controlled in your searching.

You can choose to search for items where your words only appear in certain fields in the catalogue record, for example a title-only search or an author-only search.

This is helpful if the basic keyword search is bringing back too many results for your particular terms.

You can also limit by date, language and material type here.

YorSearch new advanced search example

Search tips

Whether using the basic keyword search box or the advanced form, there are ways of making your search more effective.

Searching for any of a group of alternative words

By default, YorSearch will search for items that include all of your search terms. There is no need to include the operator AND between terms.

However, you can use OR (this must be in upper case letters) between terms to make your search broader and to find results which include any of the mentioned terms.

This is particularly useful where there are obvious synonyms that might be used instead of just one word.

YorSearch search tips A

Excluding items with certain words or phrases

There are cases where you retrieve lots of results on a particular theme that is irrelevant to your research and you'd like to weed these out.

Using the operator NOT (again, this must be in upper case letters) in your search can be helpful here.

YorSearch search tips B

If you don't use the word OR or the word NOT between search terms, YorSearch will retrieve items with all the words/phrases specified.

Using wildcard characters

Some words have slight variations - rather than do several searches for all the variations we can use 'wildcard' characters to tell YorSearch to pick them all up.

? - To replace a single character with a wildcard symbol use the ? symbol.

* - To replace several characters with a wildcard symbol use the * symbol.

YorSearch search tips C

In the example above, items with either the word woman or the word women will be retrieved.

YorSearch search tips D

In the example above, items with the words culture, cultural and culturally will be retrieved.

Grouping terms

Once you begin to combine operators such as OR and NOT you may need to use parentheses to group terms together so that YorSearch understands your query.

YorSearch search tips E

In this example, Shakespeare must be in the items retrieved and either tragedy or sonnet must be there.

This search then, is for both Shakespeare and tragedy and Shakespeare and sonnet. If the brackets were not there it would imply that the search is for either Shakespeare and tragedy, or just sonnet on its own.

Logging in to YorSearch

Logging in will allow you to get the full benefits of personalised services and to retain what you're working on beyond your session, otherwise any personalisation will be lost when you end your session.

You can log in by clicking the button at the top right of YorSearch.


Favourites allows you to save and organise items that you find during your searching.

YorSearch pin white To add items to your Favourites, select this icon next to the item in your results list. These can be deleted later.

YorSearch pin black

To view your Favourited items, click this button in the top right menu bar. There you will see options to sort, print, save and email your results.

My Library Card

Selecting My Library Card from the Menu in the top right menu bar allows you to log in and give you full access to your Library account. You can view existing loans and manage renewals, see Request information and details of any Fines or Blocks.

Why should I log in?

  • Access externally-licensed resources within YorSearch
  • Access restricted resources, eg exam papers
  • Save items that you have added to your e-shelf for future sessions
  • Retain preferences for future sessions
  • Set up alerts and RSS feeds

Why should I log out?

You should log out of YorSearch so that your searches and settings remain private.