Close up of magnifying glass on coloured paper

Search basics

Guidance on how to start searching NUsearch with confidence

Getting started  |  Quick filters  |  Filtering & sorting results  |  Finding physical & online resources  |  FAQs

Getting started

There are a number of ways you might search for resources in NUsearch:

  • If you know the specific book or article you are looking for, you can search by the title and the author
  • If you looking for information on a particular topic, you can search by keywords and phrases
  • You can also search for different types of information, such as articles, books, journals, databases. Use  resource type filters, or specific NUsearch searches for Journals or Databases

To perform a quick search

  1. Type your keywords into the search box and hit enter or click the magnifying glass icon. When you start typing, NUsearch will suggest popular searches that you can select.
  2. NUsearch will return results that contain all the words you type. You can used quotation marks to search for an exact phrase.
  3. Your search results will appear with a list of filters on the right-hand side.
  4. From here you can browse through the list of results or narrow your search using filters.
Magnifying glass search icon

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Quick filters

 Use quick filters, which allow you to set criteria before you search:

Screenshot highlighting the three quick filters under the NUsearch search box

You can use them to specify:

  1. the type of resource you want to search, such as Articles, Books, Music
  2. whether you want results that contain all the words in your search or with the exact phrase
  3. which sections of the record to search e.g. title, subject or author/contributor

These can be used in different combinations, and in combination with existing filters. If you find you need more quick filters, you can always switch to Advanced search, and any filters already set will be retained.


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Filtering and sorting results

You can sort and filter your search results to help find exactly what you need using the Filter my results options.

Watch our video, which covers key filters and how to apply multiple filters, lock filters between searches and use filters to exclude items.


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How to find physical and online resources


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 Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

What does 'see all versions' mean in my search results?

NUsearch creates groups of what might sometimes be a mixture of physical and online resources. It does this for:

  • different editions of the same item, for example the first, second and third edition of a book
  • the same item, when it is available in both print and electronic form
  • items that are similar in some way, for example different published versions of Hamlet

NUsearch will tell you how many versions of an item there are, and the blue See all versions link will show you a list of them all.

Screenshot of a book result with multiple versions, highlighting the number of versions and the link to "See all versions"

The list is sorted by Relevance to your search by default, but you can change this. Click Back to results list to return to your results.

Screenshot showing the two versions for a book that we have in print and electronically


How do I access online resources from off campus?

For online resources that are not open access, you will need to sign in to authenticate yourself as a University of Nottingham user before you can view full text content.

Links to resources from NUsearch will normally get you signed in. When you see the university login screen enter your University IT account username and password to access a resource.

If you have signed in to NUsearch, the good news is that you won't have to sign in again to access most online resources.

If the login screen does not display automatically, to sign in to a resource you will need to:

  • look for an Institutional login option
  • select UK or UK Access Management Federation for the region where necessary
  • select the University of Nottingham as your institution
  • enter your IT account username and password at the University login screen

Screenshot showing Institutional login options and the University login screen - highlights selecting "UK Access Management Federation" from a regions list and "University of Nottingham" from institutions list.

You can also download our Library Access browser extension for notifications when you find a resource outside of NUsearch that we have access to. Follow the link provided to get signed in for full text access.

Find out more about Library Access


What should I do if a book is missing from the shelf?

Let us know if a book is missing by using the Can't find this on the shelf? function within the item record on NUsearch. To do this:

  1. Perform a quick search for the book on NUsearch to find the resource record.
  2. Click on the title to open the full resource record and look for the Help and scanning requests section.

    Screenshot highlighting the option to report a missing book in the Help & scanning requests section
  3. Click the Can't find this on the shelf? Tell us option to open up a form, which will be pre-filled with information about the book.

    Screenshot of the Missing books form
  4. Add your Name and Library card number, and select the library from which the book is missing.
  5. You can also tick the box at the bottom to indicate if you would like us to request an interlibrary loan if we are unable to find the book.
  6. Once you have submitted the form our staff will look for the book and will let you know the outcome of the search.

How can I report a broken link to an online resource?

You can let us know when an Available online link is not working for a resource using our feedback tool.

To report an issue, select the pink exclamation (Report e-resource access issue) icon displayed in the bottom right of the screen. For mobile devices, select Report e-resource access issue from the top right three dots (more options) menu.

Screenshot of a book record higlighting the pink exclamation (Report an e-resource issue) icon bottom right

When the feedback tool opens select Report a broken link.

Three screens of the Report e-resource access issue feedback tool: 1: Option to Report a broken link, 2: Provide problem description and email and send feedback, 3: Thank you for your feedback.

The URL of the resource record you are viewing will be automatically captured, so we know the resource details.

Use the problem description to let us know about your access issue. Enter your email address so we can get back to you.

Select Send to submit your issue. You'll see a thank you for your feedback.


How do I find an online table of contents for a book I'm interested in?

You may find it helpful to view the table of contents before going to the library or requesting a book to make sure a resource contains the information you need.

Many book records in NUsearch contain a table of contents in the Explore section of the full resource record.

To access this:

  • Click on the title of your NUsearch result to open the full record.
  • Check to see if there is an Explore section at the bottom of the record.
  • If a table of contents is available you will see a See full table of contents link in the Look inside section

Screenshot of the Look Inside section with "See full table of contents" link highlighted

 If there is no Explore section you may also find Contents within the Details section:

 Screenshot of Details section of a book record with the Contents field highlighted

If NUsearch does not provide either of these options you can also check the following sources:

  • Library Hub Discover - provides catalogues of major UK and Irish libraries in a single search. Table of contents can sometimes be viewed within a record, or there may be a link to Google previews to look inside the book.
  • Google Books - for some titles this provides online access to look inside a book, including table of contents.
  • Publisher's websites - some publishers provide the table of contents for a book on their website.
  • Amazon - if there is a 'Look Inside' option you may be able to view the table of contents. 

Books published in the last 15 years are more likely to show the table of contents than older books. There may be titles where there's no available table of contents to view online.


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