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For advanced search techniques and general tips, check this search guide.
Looking for a broader search, including digital collections, and Library information, help, and specialised guides? Use Library Search, the SFU LIbrary's default search engine.
Rules and tips for most searches
- For most searches, start with your keywords, then limit or refine your search to narrow results (by publication type or format, date range, location, and so on)
- Use quotation marks to search for phrases, e.g. "truth and reconciliation"
- Type your search terms in upper or lower case. Searching for simon is the same as searching for SiMoN.
- However always use capital letters when doing expert searching using terms AND, OR, and NOT.
- Spaces do matter. For example, searching for ICBC is different than searching for I C B C. Try both forms to avoid missing anything.
What's included in the Library Catalogue?
The SFU Library Catalogue includes:
- the Library's physical collections (including books, videos, maps, reports, microformats and journals by title)
- course reserves
- ebooks, including online reference materials
- many (but not all) journal articles available through the Library's database subscriptions
- your Library record ("My library account").
Use Library Search instead for these resources (not included in the Catalogue):
- information about Library services (such as hours, room bookings, printing, loans policies, FAQs)
- research help, research guides, and other resources created by librarians and the Student Learning Commons
- the Library's digitized collections (including many newspapers, images, and other special collections)
- Summit, SFU's institutional repository.
What kind of search should I do (Basic, Advanced, or Browse)?
Start with Basic search when exploring a new topic or looking for quick results -- then adjust and improve if needed as you go.
A basic search may get you everything you need, or can be the first step to a more advanced search strategy, like using subject headings.
You can also use powerful search techniques in Basic search, such as:
- looking for citations: start by entering the words and phrases you have (article title, author, and/or other information)
- using quotation marks for phrases, e.g. "moral panic and media framing" (for an article using that exact phrase)
- using commands like AND, OR, and NOT
Advanced search allows you to combine multiple search terms using multiple search fields -- and limit your search from the start.
It doesn't give you more or different results than a Basic search, but it allows you to focus your search immediately, without using special search commands.
If you are looking for books (not articles, chapters, parts of books, or online resources), and want to see a list of search terms, you can also use Browse search. See the Books section of this guide for more information.
Sign in for extra features, including renewals and requesting items
You do not need to sign into the SFU Library Catalogue to see the books, journals, and other items owned by the SFU Library. Anyone can search the Catalogue and see items owned by the Library without signing in.
However you will need to sign into the Catalogue to request or renew items and to access your Library account. For more information and functions, see Why should I sign into the Library Catalogue? How do I sign into the Library Catalogue?
Questions and help
For more help, ask a Librarian.