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General Search Tips

These are general tips for how to enter search terms for performing searches in the catalogues and databases offered by the library.


How do I search for people, titles or topics?

If you are looking for a person (e.g. the author), limit yourself to the last name. First names are not always found or only in abbreviated form.

When searching for a title, enter 2-3 keywords. This is usually sufficient to limit the number of hits. The more words you enter, the smaller the number of hits, but the faster it can happen that you do not find the title you are looking for because the spelling is different.

If you are not looking for a specific title, but for a topic, use search fields such as "Free text", "Topic", "Keyword" or "Basic Index" (the names may differ depending on the search service).

Entering search terms

Upper and lower case letters, special characters, umlauts

Upper and lower case letters are of no significance for the search, both will always retrieve the same result.

One-figure special characters such as the stress on é as in mathématique or the Å in Årsbok can simply be omitted. Umlauts (ä, ö, ü) and ß will be resolved and you retrieve results with ae, oe, ue and ss as well. If you enter erlaß you will get results containing the words both Erlass and Erlaß

In some subject databases - especially those from English-speaking countries - the umlauts in the title of an essay, for example, are always converted into the basic form. This must then also be taken into account in the search.

Use placeholders

If the spelling of a term is not clear to you or if you want to find a term in different spellings / word forms / languages at the same time, use wildcards. The asterisk (*) often replaces any number of characters, the question mark (?) exactly one character. In some specialist databases the dollar sign ($) is also used instead of the *.

You enter: bibliothek*

Your result is: Bibliothek, Bibliotheken, Bibliothekare etc.

You enter: Tele*on
Your result is: Television, Telegraphenstation, Telefon, Telephon etc.

You enter: do?umentation
Your result is: documentation and Dokumentation

As a rule, you cannot use wildcards at the beginning of a word.

Combing search terms

There are several ways to combine several search terms within one search field or terms in different search fields. Many databases offer the following combination options:

Find all terms (AND)

Use the word AND, the plus sign or simply the space to get hits that contain all of the search terms.

  • film AND producer
  • film +prodcuer
  • film producer

If you use the space character, some of the hits will be displayed first in which all search terms occur and then those in which only some or only one of the entered search terms occurs.

Find one or more terms (OR)

Use the word OR or the brackets (...) to get hits with either one or the other (or both) search terms.

  • film OR movie
  • (film movie)

Exclude terms (NOT)

Use the word NOT or the minus sign to get hits that include the first search term but not the second.

  • metropolis NOT city
  • metropolis -city

Word groups (phrase search)

Use quotation marks to obtain hits in which the search terms appear directly after each other.

  • "journal of biochemistry"