Search and find - tips for effective media research

BIB 20-010

What you need to know

These tips are important when researching in the library catalogues and databases.

These tools will ensure that your literature search will deliver effective results.

The numbering does not refer to the order in which the steps must be taken, it is simply to give you a better overview of the individual research tools.

What you have to do

  1. Getting started in your search with key terms

    The most important thing to do before beginning your search is to correctly identify the key terms.

    • The quality of your search results will depend on this.


    • English is the language of science and academia.


  2. Wildcards: truncation and masking

    Search for a word stem and use a truncation mark so that the different word endings are also taken into account.
    Example: Sozial* also searches for Soziales, -amt, -wissenschaft

    You can also use a wildcard in the middle of a word if the spelling is unclear (masking).
    Example: Gra*ik searches for Grafik and Graphik

    • The wildcard symbols will vary according to the search tool you are using. Use the help page to find out what symbol to use.

  3. Boolean operators

    Boolean operators enable the linking of search terms:

    "and"    usually results in fewer but more relevant hits by combining various terms (items containing both words will be searched for)
    "or"       broadens your search, e.g. by using synonyms (items containing either or both words will be searched for)
    "not"     limits the search to a particular topic (items containing the keyword will not be retrieved)

  4. Phrase search

    You already know which book or article title you need? You can use the phrase search to find the book or article title by entering the exact title in quotation marks.

    Example: "Numerics in mechanical engineering"

  5. Keyword and key terms search

    Searching for a keyword (Stichwort) only returns hits in which the search term appears in the title. Searching for key terms (Schlagwort) returns hits on a specific topic.

    A keyword describes the content of a medium, regardless of title and language. The two search methods lead to different sets of hits.

  6. Filters and limiters

    You can use filters to further limit your search results.
    For example, you can limit your results in the BOSS the BOSS search portal by location or restrict them to e-books.

    • The use of filters should be very carefully considered so that important search results are not filtered out.

Problems or questions?