YorSearch help

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

Library Catalogue

By searching the Library Catalogue you will retrieve a list of relevant sources in the University of York Library holdings which includes:

  • JB Morrell
  • Raymond Burton
  • Harry Fairhurst
  • King's Manor

The catalogue also includes the library holdings at York Minster Library and the National Railway Museum, and electronic versions of PhD theses in White Rose eTheses Online.

The catalogue entries describe and refer to all the books, journal titles, audiovisual items, scores, law reports, government publications and many other types of information source that the Library holds. They may be in hard copy within the Library, in which case you will be given location and holdings information, or they may be online, in which case there will be a link to them.

Search Everything

Search Everything is a wider search that includes many journal articles, conference papers and other documents that are not catalogued by the Library.

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For help on more systematic searching of information sources, (published or unpublished, hard copy or electronic), contact your Academic Liaison Librarian via the Subject Guides.

The Library Catalogue has a basic entry for each title that the Library subscribes to, but the articles/papers/chapters within each title are not listed or searchable via the catalogue.

The Library subscribes to separate databases that allow you to search by topic for useful articles/papers/chapters. Search several different databases to ensure your search is comprehensive.

However, Search Everything delves into some of this more detailed content so you can extend the scope of your search whilst still within YorSearch.

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.

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

Using the results

The brief results

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

For each item you will see the following information:

YorSearch brief results example 

Resource type icon The format of the item, such as book, article, journal etc. 

Save for later button

Saved for later button

Adds items to your Saved Items list. See Personalised Services for more information.

Title Clicking the title displays fuller information about the resource, such as the number of pages, the publisher, and the series title, if there is one, as well as useful subject headings to use in other searches.
Author/creator, publisher and date of publication  
View online Resources with e-access as an option will have this link through to the resource.
Find in Library

Takes you to a basic record for the item, showing you everything you need to know in order to access it.

For hard copy items it shows how many copies there are in stock and where to locate them in the Library, plus information about whether they are currently out on loan or on the shelves.

You can also reserve an item that is out on loan.

Details This gives the same information as clicking the title.
Browse shelves

Use this option to browse items on a similar subject.

View editions or versions

If there is more than one edition or version of the same title, you will see this in place of the options above.

Clicking on this will take you to another results screen for just that title, in all its editions.

Refining your search

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

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 left 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, or to items only at one particular Library building.

Yorsearch advanced search example

Tip: if you want to look at items only in a particular library or collection, you can do it here by selecting one of the options from the Limit to drop down menu.

Search tips

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

Phrase searching

To search for words as a phrase, type quotation marks around the phrase. You can combine both single words and phrases in your search to make it as relevant as possible.

YorSearch phrase search example

If you don't put quotation marks around words, YorSearch will retrieve items with all the words regardless of their proximity to each other, thus widening the search.

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 (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 OR search example

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 (must be in upper-case letters) in your search can be helpful here.

YorSearch NOT search example

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 and 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 wildcard ? search

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

YorSearch wildcard * example

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 Grouping terms example

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.

Personalised services

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.

Saved Items

Saved Items allows you to save and organize items that you find during your searching.

Saved for later button To add items to your Saved Items, select this icon next to the item in your results list. These can be deleted later – see Managing items below.

Saved Items button

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


There are various options for organising your items and creating folders when you log in:

Managing folders

From Saved Items you can:

  • Create folders
  • Rename folders
  • Copy folders
  • Paste folders
  • Delete folders
  • Add notes
  • Modify notes ‌

Managing items

From Saved Items you can perform the following operations on items:

  • Cut items
  • Copy items
  • Paste items
  • Delete items
  • Email items
  • Print items
  • Save items - select the item and an option from the Select how to save drop down
  • Add notes
  • Modify notes ‌

To remove an item and all of its copies in the various folders in Saved Items, select the Save for later (Saved for later button) button next to the item in the search results. If you don't want to delete all the copies, you must remove individual copies directly within Saved Items.

Search queries

A query is a word or phrase you specify in the search panel to request information. You can do the following with queries:

  • View the current session's queries and results.
  • Save a query from the current session in order to use it later.
  • Activate alerts on your saved queries to have them run automatically at scheduled times to provide you with updated results from queries.
  • Activate RSS feeds to receive updates for your favorite queries. For more information, see RSS Feeds.

If you are logged in, you can save a query by clicking Save search, which appears at the bottom of the menus in the left hand column.

You can access your saved and session queries by clicking the Saved Items link at the top and then clicking the Saved Searches tab.

YorSearch saved searches

This tab contains the following folders:

  • This session's queries: this folder lists all of the queries that you have performed in the current session
  • Saved searches & alerts: this folder lists all of the searches and alerts that you have saved

 Note: If you are not logged in, your queries are only available during the current session.

You can run a saved search yourself, or you can set it as an alert that runs automatically at scheduled times and sends you new results by email.

Search alerts

An alert is a process that runs your query automatically at scheduled times and sends you new results via email. 

To view the list of alerts, click the Saved searches & alerts menu.

To configure an alert for a saved query, click the Update link for that query and then specify the alert settings.

RSS feeds

Syndicated content, otherwise known as Really Simple Syndication (RSS), is a way to distribute information from websites. For example, using RSS, a news site or a blog can automatically feed its news articles or entries to a group of subscribers.

RSS feeds in YorSearch are used to notify you of new items found by the query. RSS feeds can be activated from either the search results or the Saved searches & alerts folder on the Saved Searches tab. All that you need is to have an RSS reader installed on your computer.

If your browser supports RSS, click the RSS button at the bottom of the menus in the left hand column. A window from which you can subscribe to the RSS feeds opens. Follow the instructions in the window.

If your browser does not support RSS, right-click the RSS button, copy the link, and paste it into the RSS reader.

Library Account 

Selecting Library Account in the top right menu bar allows you to tailor the interface, for example by specifying the number of results displayed per page.

Logging in will allow you full access to your Library account, allowing you to view existing loans and manage renewals.

Logging in/out

You can log in using the Login button at the top right of YorSearch.

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.