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VuFind: Advanced Search

Tips for Conducting an Advanced Search

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What does the Advanced Search do?

The Advanced Search in VuFind allows you to conduct a more refined search. You can enter search terms in multiple fields using Boolean operators and limit by language or format. You can also Login to your account and add items to your favorites.

Conduct an Advanced Search:

  1. Access the Library Gateway: http://www.library.illinois.edu/
  2. Select Library Catalog (under Quick Links)
  3. Select Library Catalog (the first entry)
  4. On the screen pictured below, select Advanced Search

    Screen shot of basic search with advanced search highlighted

  5. Use the Advanced Search form pictured below to conduct your search.

    Screen shot of advanced search in VuFind

Search For:

In Advanced Search, you have the option to add multiple fields to your search, using up to four search bars. Each bar has a dropdown menu from which you can select to do a keyword, title, author, subject, or ISBN/ISSN search. You also have the option of changing the Boolean operators on the far left to either narrow (AND/NOT) or broaden (OR) your search.

Keyword Search:

The Keyword Search is the default search for the VuFind catalog. It allows you to search by topic or idea. If you are not looking for a specific item, this is a good search to start with. If you would like to look for two or more words as a phrase, put quotation marks around them. This will narrow your search and bring up fewer results. In Advanced Search, enter your keywords in separate search bars and change the Boolean operators on the left to narrow or broaden your search.

Title Search:

To conduct a Title Search, select Title from the dropdown menu. The Title Search allows you to search for specific titles or for words found in the title. If you are looking for an exact title, put quotation marks around the title to narrow your search to items only with that title. If you are unsure about the exact title or would like to see all items that have a certain word or group of words in the title, do not put quotation marks around your search terms. This will retrieve all items with titles that contain your search terms.

Author Search:

To conduct an Author Search, select Author from the dropdown menu. To search for a particular author, type the author's name (e.g. John Smith or Smith, John) into the search bar. Both search strategies will retrieve the same results. Do not use quotation marks when conducting an author search in the John Smith format, only in Smith, John. In Advanced Search, you can combine an author and title search in order to search for a title by a specific author.

Subject Search:

The Subject Search will allow you to do a keyword search of the subject field of each item of the catalog. For instance, if you did a Subject Search for "University of Illinois," the catalog would pull up all items with that phrase in the subject field. This is a helpful way to find books about the same topic. In Advanced Search, you can enter multiple subject terms into the search boxes to broaden or narrow your search.


If you know the ISBN or ISSN of the item you want, you can use the ISBN/ISSN Search to find it quickly. Enter the ISBN/ISSN into the search bar, with or without dashes. If you are looking for multiple ISBN/ISSNs, select OR from the Boolean operator dropdown menu and enter ISBN/ISSNs in separate search bars.


Limit To:

In Advanced Search, you have the option to limit your search further by electronic, language, or format.


If you are only interested in electronic sources, such as electronic journals or ebooks, select electronic.


If you are looking for items in a particular language, select one or more from the Languages Menu.


If you are looking for items in a particular format, such as a book, film/video, or map, select the format you are looking for from the Format menu.