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VuFind: Basic Search

Tips for Conducting a Basic Search

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Watch a short video on Finding Books

What does the Basic Search do?

The Basic Search in VuFind allows you to search for items by keyword, title, author, subject, or ISBN/ISSN. VuFind is most helpful if you are searching for books about a topic (i.e. fiction by John Steinbeck or global warming), but you can also use it to search for known items. You also have the option of looking at your Search History (list of recent searches) and saving items to your Favorites when you Login to your VuFind Account.

Conduct a Basic Search

  1. Access the Library Gateway: http://www.library.illinois.edu/
  2. Select Library Catalog (under Quick Links).
  3. Select I-Share Catalog.
  4. Use the Library Resource Finder screen below to conduct your search.

Screen shot of the basic search in VuFind.
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.


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.


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.



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.