Search Tips

The following are examples of specific types of searches:

Title - Book or Article Enter the title in quotes:
  "power of one"
  "nickel and dimed"
Title - Journal Enter the title in quotes:
  "journal of chemical sciences"
or enter the journal’s abbreviated title:
   j biol chem
Author Enter last name, first name (or initial), and middle initial, if known. Do not use commas or quotation marks:
  faulkner william
  kozol jonathan
  einstein a
Keyword Enter search term(s), placing quotes around phrases. The system automatically adds 'and' between the words/phrases:
  "television violence" children
  "human trafficking"
Article within a specific journal Enter journal title, in quotes, and appropriate keyword(s):
  "new england journal of medicine" "heart disease"
Truncation Use an asterisk * to truncate:
  environ* (finds environs, environment,
  environmental, etc.)
To find a book or article by a specific author Enter author last name and words from the title
  faulkner sanctuary
  kozol "letters to a young teacher"


  • Capitalization is not necessary.
  • Use of + and – in your search will be ignored.

More Tips

To view your results

Results are returned for each database searched. The number of Article Matches for each database appears when the search is completed. To view results for a particular article resource, click on the link to the right of the resource title. You will be taken to that resource, with your search already performed.

To locate articles

After clicking on Article Matches and entering the database, follow the links within the database to locate the actual articles. Look for the following options:

  • HTML Full Text – provides full text in web format
  • PDF Full Text - provides a scanned copy of the article
  • Discover links – indicates the article is not full text in the current database and may provide links to resources where full text access is available

After examining some of the articles, you may want to modify your search strategy in the database itself.

To locate books

To locate books at the UIUC library click on Books Matches for the Books, Music, Theses, etc. in UIUC Library Catalog. Click on the title of a book you are interested in; call number, location, and status information will be located near the bottom of the page.

If you get no results in a search

If you receive no matches for some of your databases, there may be no books/articles in those databases that correspond to your search terms.

If you receive no matches in ANY database, try the following:

  • Use alternative words (synonyms) in your search.
  • Check your spelling to make sure it was correct.
  • Make sure you did not type a sentence or question in the search box.
  • Repeat your search in a different database collection.

To modify your search

Click on the Modify Search button at the bottom of the Results page.

To begin a new search

Click on the New Search button on the bottom of the Results page.

To access all of the Library’s databases

The Library subscribes to more than 200 databases, and Easy Search includes only a small selection of these. Use UIUC Library’s Online Research Resources page if you wish to use a database that is not included in Easy Search.

Need more help?

If you have a question about using Easy Search, or it does not seem to be working properly, Ask a Librarian for help.