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BUILD IT Express: Discovery Search

A short version of the BUILD IT tutorial, with just the essential information.


Another option for finding library resources is Discovery Search which searches multiple databases simultaneously.
It is a great way to find articles, but that is not the only thing you can find there. You can also use it to locate books, eBooks, book chapters, and more. 

This can be a real timesaver but there are a few tricks you need to know to get good results.

For more details, see the pages on Discovery Search in BUILD IT


The Discovery Search box is found on the library homepage. It will search nearly all databases simultaneously for all types of resources related to your search term. It can be a real time saver, or it can be frustrating, if you don't know a few tips for getting good results.  Because of the large amounts of information it is searching, it may bring up thousands of scattered results.  There are a few strategies for getting this under control.

  • The first step is to always enclose search phrases of two words or more in quotation marks.  Otherwise, Discovery Search will look for each word individually rather than as a phrase, resulting in hundreds of irrelevant results.
  • The next  important step is to make use of all the options in the left column next to your results

Between these two steps, you will reduce the number of results dramatically, leaving only the most relevant. ones.


Are you looking for a specific article, maybe one that has been assigned, but have no idea how to track it down on the library website?  The first thing to try is Discovery Search.  Just enter the title of the article into the search box, enclosed in quotation marks, and it will likely bring it right up.

And there it is!

Tip.  If the title is very generic, add the authors last name in the search box, for example, "global warming" Bell


The Advanced Search screen gives you more flexibility when setting up your search.  

  • You can set a number of options, including Publication Date, Full Text, and Scholarly Journals, before you start your search.
  • The link to Go to  Advanced Search is right under the Discovery Search box.
  • To enter multiple search terms and choose fields for each, such as author, title, subject, publication title, etc., click on Advanced Search again.


A search for a very general topic will bring up a very large, overwhelming amount of results.  A search for "global warming" brings up well over one million results.  This includes items that are available full text, as well as those that are not, from all dates. It also includes all manner of content, including books and eBooks, newspaper and magazine articles. streaming videos, trade publications, conference proceedings, dissertations, and much more. It would be like trying to find a needle in a haystack to locate just the articles you need.


Using the options in the left column to Refine Results will give you a much more focused list and will dramatically reduce the results.

Current Search. You may delete one or more of these Expanders to focus your search.  For example, eliminate "Also search within the full text of articles" where your search terms may appear but not be the focus of the article.

Limit To
Mark Full Text if you are looking for articles or eBooks from the library databases. Do not mark it if you are looking for print books. 
Mark Scholarly (Peer Reviewed) to find articles from an academic journal. You may also limit the Publication Date by using the slider or entering in a date range.

Source Types.
 Al the types available for  your search will be displayed with the number of results for each listed. It is a good idea to mark Academic Journals again. 

It may be helpful to choose one of these as well, to filter out content that is outside the area you are researching.



So far, we have only talked about locating library materials, but can't you find good information online too? 

Go on to the next page, WHAT ABOUT THE INTERNETfor tips about how to find reliable and useful information online