Online library help

3. How to search the online library

Quick search

Type in a word or words – like an author and title – that you would like to find and click OK. For a smaller search, change ‘Anywhere’ to title, author or series and change ‘Keyword’ to Phrase or Exact match, then click OK.

The list of results shows brief details about each item you’ve found (sometimes with the libraries where copies are kept). You can:

  • click a title to see full details, including location and availability
  • use the options on the right to narrow your search results
  • tick the boxes beside the titles, then use the buttons at the top to refine or save your list or to reserve titles.

Try a quick search

Title search

Allows you to search for words in the title or series. You can also browse through titles beginning with certain words. Type in the words you would like to find, choose the type of search below, then click OK.

  • Keywords to find the words anywhere in the title
  • Browse to find titles starting with the text you have entered
  • Phrase to find titles with the words you have entered in a sequence
  • Exact match to find titles matching only the words you have entered

If successful, a page of titles will be displayed. Click a title to see details about it, or tick the boxes beside several titles and click ‘Display Selections’ to see brief details about more of them.

Try a title search

Author search

Allows you to search for words in an author’s name. Type in the words you would like to find, choose the type of search (keyword, browse, phrase or exact match) and then click OK.

If successful, a page of names will be displayed. Click a name to see details about their titles, or tick the boxes beside several names and then click ‘Display Selections’ to see brief details about more titles.

Try an author search

Subject search

Allows you to search for words in a subject, or browse through subjects beginning with the text you enter. Type in the words you would like to find, choose the type of search (keyword, browse, phrase or exact match) and then click OK.

If successful, a page of subjects will be displayed. Click on a subject to see brief details of the items about it, or tick the boxes beside several subjects and then click ‘Display Selections’ to see brief details about more of them.

Try a subject search

Advanced search

Allows you to perform more complicated searches. Type your search in the boxes on the search screen. You can type several words in each box, and in any number of boxes.

  • Specific search if you know exactly what you are looking for. For example, enter an ISBN without spaces or hyphens (the International Standard Book Number barcode printed on the back or inside most book covers), then click OK to go straight to the full details of that title.
  • Broader search to start with a broad list of results, then narrow them down using ‘Refine set’. Type the words you would like to find, or select items from the language, location and collection lists (you can do more than one of these) then click OK. If successful, a page of results showing brief details for each item will appear. Click a title to display full details for the item.

Try an advanced search

Search results

Depending on what you searched for, one or more of the following options will appear:

  • List of titles click a title to see full details, including location and availability
  • Refine set button narrow your results in several ways, including by library
  • Refine results options on the right to narrow results by year, topic, and much more
  • Sort set button to sort results by title, publication date or series
  • Save selections or Save all tick the boxes beside the titles you’re interested in, then use the save buttons at the top of the page, you can go back to this ‘Saved list’ to reserve titles later
  • Reserve selections or Reserve all tick the boxes beside the titles you’re interested in, then use the reserve buttons if you want to reserve them immediately.

If you didn’t find what you are looking for, check your spelling or try a different search.

If your search results tell you the number of copies we have but then don’t list all of them, they may be missing, damaged, unavailable during refurbishment work at a library, or kept at a library closed to the public like the prison. Please ask library staff about reserving a copy.

To find books and magazines to download, go straight to the relevant Ebooks and eaudiobooks website.

New titles

Find new books, DVDs and music CDs using the links on the left of the online library.

You can also create an ‘alert profile’ in your account for materials you would like to know about. If any new items that match your preferences are added to the catalogue, you’ll be sent an email containing brief details and a direct link to reserve it on the online library.

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