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NUsearch FAQs

On this page you will find answers to frequently asked questions about NUsearch, our library discovery tool.

The FAQs below are arranged under the following broad categories:

Introduction to NUsearch

Help and Support

Call us on 0115 95 16393 

Email Library Helpline

NUsearch blog 

The new look NUsearch is quick, clear and user-friendly. I'm a total technophobe but I was impressed at how easy NUsearch is to use.

Dr David Appleby, Lecturer, History 

I absolutely LOVE the new NUsearch library interface! It looks great and is easy to use. Excellent job.

Yvonne Paul, Post Graduate student 


Searching NUsearch

What is NUsearch?

NUsearch is your online library discovery tool. Use it to search and access our extensive physical and electronic library collections. You'll find books, journals, articles, videos, theses, manuscripts, databases and much more. It's a gateway to quality and trusted sources.

You can sign in to view your library account and request the items you need. You can also use My Favourites to save and organise search queries and items you find.

It's mobile friendly, so you can use it on the go. It's single sign-in, so you don't have to sign in again to access electronic resources.

NUsearch is your one-stop-shop to searching and accessing everything in one place. To learn more see our Introduction to NUsearch video.


What does NUsearch search?

Start typing in the search box and you will be given the choice to search the following: 

  • All Collections searches everything we have, all online resources, plus everything we physically hold in our libraries.
  • Library Catalogue to search unique print and electronic collections (including Special Collections) held across our eight library sites.
  • Articles if you want to focus your search on journal articles, conference proceedings, book chapters, audio visual material etc. 
  • Research outputs to search the University's digital research archive, which includes articles, dissertations and theses by our staff and students.
  • Manuscripts or Archives to discover over 700 manuscripts and archive collections, with links though to the Manuscripts Online Catalogue for more information.  
  • Digital Gallery to discover around 1,500 digitised resources from our Manuscripts and Special Collections, including photographs, illustrations, maps and other documents. To find out more see our Digital Gallery webpage.

If NUsearch does not offer full text access to a resource, you always have the option to place an Interlibrary loan request or suggest a book purchase.


Are there any other search options?

From the NUsearch top menu you can select the following options:

Find databases allows you to search for a database and browse by subject and A-Z titles. From here, you can link out direct to each database’s native interface and continue your search from there.

Journals A-Z allows you to search all electronic and print journals titles. You can search for a particular title, or browse by A-Z list. Click through to the full journal record to see details of our holdings and links out to ejournal providers, where you can search for articles.

Digital Gallery showcases a selection of digitised photographs, illustrations, maps and other documents held by the University's Manuscripts and Special Collections. There are around 1,500 digital resources grouped by subject or theme into collections. Click on an item to view the full digital resource. To find out more see our Digital Gallery webpage.

Browzine allows you to find, read and monitor ejournal titles. You can set up a bookshelf for your favourite journals and easily scan through each new issue for useful articles.

If you want to use BrowZine on a mobile device, you will have to download the app available on  Google Play and the  App Store.

Reading lists allow you to search for and access the online reading list for your course. Reading lists are not yet included in the NUsearch main search.


What is a database?

Bibliographic databases are subject-based collections of abstracts of published research. They usually include references to:

  • Journal articles
  • Conference papers 
  • Theses

A bibliographic reference tells you who the author(s) is/are, the title of the research and where and when it was published. They usually also provide a summary or abstract of the full article. Some databases cover a very specific subject area whilst others are more general. 

Full-text databases contain a significant proportion of full text information rather than just giving bibliographic details of an item. A full text database might include any or all of the following types of information:

  • Journal articles
  • Newspaper articles
  • Ebooks
  • Reference books
  • Reports/Official or government publications
  • Data/Statistics
  • Images

How do I access e-resources from off campus?

For  e-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.

The good news is that if you have signed into NUsearch you won't have to sign in again to access most e-resources.

If you do need to sign in avoid the Open Athens login option and look for a link to Institutional Login or something similar.

Selecting University of Nottingham from the list of institutions presented to you should take you to a screen asking for your IT account username and password.

Accessing eresources


How can I filter my search results?

You can filter your search results using the Filter my results options on the right hand side of the screen. There are options to narrow your results down by:

  • Availability
  • Resource type
  • Creation date
  • Topic
  • Library
  • Collection, and more…

What is Expand My Results?

All the results you see in NUsearch are for resources that we have online access to, plus everything we hold in our libraries.


Clicking on Expand My Results increases the number of hits from your search and introduces to your results list resources that may be highly relevant and useful, but which we don’t have online access to:

Results of an expanded search with the "Check Availability" link highlighted for the first result

Don’t think of this as a dead end, though. You can click on the Check availability link to see ways for you to get hold of the article, book chapter or other resource that you need.

If we don’t have the print version at the University of Nottingham, you can apply for an Interlibrary loan or suggest a book for purchase.

Article with no full text showing interlibrary loan and purchase request options


What simple searches can I run?

To start with, type one or more words and hit Enter or click the search icon. NUsearch will return results that contain all the specific terms.

If you know the book, journal or article title you are looking for you can put all or most of the title in the search box and NUsearch will find it:

Full title 

To provide greater control over your search and return more relevant results you can use quotation marks to search for an exact phrase:

Quotation marks


How can I make my results more relevant?

Type search terms separated by the Boolean operators AND, OR and NOT (put them in capital letters to tell NUsearch that you want to do a controlled search).

Use Boolean OR if you want to return results that contain either of the terms you have entered, or both of them. This will expand your search:


Use Boolean NOT if you want to search for the first term and then subtract anything after the operator from your results. This will narrow your search:

Boolean NOT

Use Boolean AND if you want to return results that contain all of the terms you are searching for. This will narrow your search because if one term is found in an item and the other one isn’t, it will not appear in your results list.

Normally AND is not needed because NUsearch automatically returns results that contain all the terms you have typed in.


When should I use Advanced Search?

AND, OR and NOT can also be used in Advanced Search, which gives you extra options if you want to further refine your search query.

Here, you can enter different terms on each line of Advanced Search and each time choose if you want to search for them in any part of a record (Any field), just in the Title or search for results by a specific Author/creator or on a specific Subject.

You can decide if you want to search for an exact phrase by changing the contains option to exact word/phrase.

You can also restrict results by Material Type, Language and Publication Date. If you choose to restrict results by Specific Date, you will be asked to set a start and end date, month and year for your search and NUsearch will only return resources published during that time frame.

As an example, this advanced search has been built to return results that contain the exact phrase “aircraft design” anywhere in the record together with the term alloy, but excluding the term composite. Results can come from any year, but they must be articles and they must be in English:

Advanced search


What else can I do with Advanced Search?

Advanced Search offers some extra choices to help you find the right resources.

If you know the ISBN of a book or the ISSN of a journal you can search for this and find the item you want quickly:


If you have written down the Classmark of an item in the library but can’t remember which title you found then you can search for the full reference and scan the results list until you spot what you need:


You can also search by Library name and Collection name in Advanced Search, and any of these options can be combined with the others to effectively pre-set the parameters of your search before you start.

As an example, this advanced search looks for any resource held at Greenfield Medical Library on the subject of asthma:

Library and Collection

This advanced search looks for any resources about Derbyshire contained in our East Midlands Special Collection, held by Manuscripts and Special Collections at our King’s Meadow Campus:

Library and Collection 2



Can I search using syntax from a specific database - AU=Shakespeare?

It is not possible to do this kind of specialised searching with NUsearch. If you want to use search syntax that only specific databases support then you can choose the option to Find databases from the top menu and link directly through to the native interface from there.

How can I sort my search results? 

Search results in NUsearch automatically get sorted by relevance. You can also sort your results by:

  • Date – newest
  • Date – oldest
  • Author
  • Title


Saving, exporting and tagging search results

What is My favourites?

My favourites is your own space on NUsearch where you can save and organise search queries and item records. You need to sign in to use My Favourites.

How do I store search queries I have found in NUsearch?

Search queries and item records can be stored and organised in My Favourites (the pin icon located at the top right of the screen). You will need to be signed in to use this functionality.

NUsearch menu bar showing Pin icon

To keep a search, you can choose the Save query option located at the top. A confirmation appears at the top of the screen where you can also turn on email notifications for the query:

Save query

To view your saved queries go to My Favourites and click on the Saved Searches. There are further options to unpin your query or set up email notifications:

My Favourites saved searches

If you forget to sign in, NUsearch will still remember your search history during your browser session.

Click on the Search History icon for a list of your search queries:

NUsearch Menu bar showing search history icon

My favourites search history

From your list in My Favourites, you can:

  • Run a search again by clicking on the title
  • Select and delete single or mulitple search queries
  • Sign in and pin or unpin queries to permanently add or remove them from your Saved Searches list

How do I store item records I have found in NUsearch?

After running a search, you can select records to be stored to My Favourites. Click on the pin icon next to the title you want to save to My Favourites. A highlighted record means that item has already been added:

Highlighted record

If you are looking at the full information for an item, click on the pin icon in the top right hand corner of the screen:

Full information

To view your saved records go to My Favourites and click on the Saved Records. There are further options to unpin your query or export the record to a referencing tool:

My favourites saved records


How do I export my search findings into my University referencing tool from NUsearch?

You can export your search results into EasyBib, Menderley, EndNote Web, RefWorks, RIS (which uses EndNote Desktop if you have it installed on the computer you are using) and BibTex.

For individual records, click on the three dots next to the title:

Export more options

This will then show more options:

"Send to" menu export options

 For multiple records, save individual records to My Favourites. Select all the items to be exported and click on the three dots. Further options will appear:

Export multiple records in My Favourites


Can I email or print my search results?

For individual records, click on the three dots next to the title:

Export more options

This will then show the Print and E-mail options:

"Send to" menu showing Print and Email options

 For multiple records, save individual records to My Favourites. Select the required items and click on the three dots. The Print and E-mail options will appear:

Export multiple records in My Favourites


What are tags and how do you use them?

Choose Tags from the NUsearch menu to look for labels that others have used to link common search results together, and also view tags that you have created.

NUsearch main menu showing ellpisis icon to see more menu options

 NUsearch main menu showing Tags menu option

 You can search for tags and view the most popular and recently added tags:

Tags menu screen with search box and popular and recently added tags

Clicking on a tag name opens the Advanced Search page and shows you a list of all the records that have been tagged with that term. You can then readjust your search query using the other drop down options if you want to

To create a tag:

  1. Sign into NUsearch
  2. Run a search and click on a result to view the full details
  3. In the Tags section click Add your own tags:

    Add your own tags menu item
  4. Type in the name of your tag and it will be added to the record. NUsearch remembers all of the tags you have created and will give you the option to pick one of them before you start typing a new one.

    Adding a tag

To delete the tags you have created:

  1. Sign into NUsearch
  2. Choose Tags from the NUsearch top menu
  3. Click on one of the tags you have created to see all of the records that have been tagged.

    My Recent Tags
  4. Click on a result to view the full details. From here you can delete the tag:

    Tag shown with cross to click to delete


Your NUsearch account 

Why should I sign in to NUsearch?

You can search NUsearch as a guest user but it is important that you sign in with either your IT Account username and password, or your library card number and password if you want to:

  • Discover and access all the electronic resources that NUsearch has to offer without having to sign in again
  • Check your library account - to view current and historic loans, requests, fines
  • Request library items and interlibrary loans
  • Pay your fines
  • Add items or queries to My Favourites

How do I sign in to NUsearch?

To sign in to NUsearch click the Sign in option in the top right hand corner:

 NUsearch main menu showing sign in option

Select from the two sign in options:

NUsearch sign in menu showing Univerity IT account and Community Borrower options

Option 1, University IT account - is for University of Nottingham students, staff or associates.

Sign in using your university IT username and password. If you are unable to sign in, you'll be prompted to register with the library. Registering is easy to do; you can either visit any library lending desk with your University card, or download and complete a registration form and email it back to us.

Option 2, Community borrowers - is for all other members of the library, including:

  • staff of the Nottingham University Hospitals (NUH)
  • alumni, members of the public and corporate organisations that have registered for external membership
  • students and staff from other universities registered through the SCONUL access scheme

Sign in with your library card number shown on the front of your library card. Your password is no longer your library card number PIN. If you are an existing member, or a first time user you'll initially need to set a new password.

To set a new password click on Community borrowers and then Can’t sign in. Select First time user? Set a password. Enter your User ID (Library card number) or your registered email address. We’ll send you an email with a link to create a new password.


I don’t have a University IT account, what does this mean for me?

If you are an NHS user or an external borrower you can sign in to NUsearch by selecting the Community borrowers sign in option.

NUsearch sign in menu showing Univerity IT account and Community Borrower options

Sign in with your library card number shown on the front of your library card. Your password is no longer your library card number PIN. If you are an existing member, or a first time user you'll initially need to set a new password.

To set a new password click on Community borrowers and then Can’t sign in.

Select: First time user? Set a password. Enter your User ID (Library card number) or your registered email address. We’ll send you an email with a link to create a new password.

“Can’t sign in?” options for community borrowers and the password reset screen


How can I check my library account? 

Once you are signed in, click your name in the top right hand corner, then click on My Library Card. Your library account will show details of: 

  • Loans
  • Requests
  • Library charges
  • Blocks and messages

From your library account, you can:

  • Check on the progress of your requests and cancel any you no longer need
  • Pay fines
  • Renew items you have out on loan

Remember to sign out before leaving a computer in the library so your details remain confidential.


How do I request a book?

You can request items that are on loan or held at another library by:

1. Clicking on your search result to see the full details of the item you are interested in.

2. In the Find in Library section click on the Request option.

Normally the Request option is displayed above all the copies:

Find in Library” section showing Request option above copies of a book

In the case of multivolume books you'll find the Request option to the right of each copy so you can request a specific volume.

Multivolume book showing “Request” option next to each volume.

3. Select your Pickup Location and click Request to confirm your request.

You don't need to worry about the field asking for volume/issue/copy as this is only needed for Special Collections and Central Store journal requests.

Book request form asking for pickup location

4. NUsearch will choose the quickest copy to get to you. You can track progress in the Requests tab of My Library card.

5. When the book is ready we'll email you, you'll need to collect it from your chosen library within two days. If you are a part time or distance learner, or have declared a disability, you will have seven days to pick the book up.


How can I request a Central Store journal?

You can request journals held in our Central Store to be sent to any library. To do this:

1. Click to open the full journal record to see the Find in Library section.

2. If the journal is held at more than one library select the Central Store holdings by clicking on them.

3. Depending on the type of holdings displayed click on one of the following request options:

a.  Only journal holdings displayed e.g. Vol. 10-19, 1970-79

Click on the link Central Store/Special Collections Journal request.

Find in Library section showing “Central Store/Special Collections journal request” option

b.  Some or all of the journal issues are displayed individually

There are two request options available:

    • Click Request next to the relevant issue. You can search for an issue using the filters for year, vol. and description.
    • Click Request a different issue if the issue you want is not listed.

Journal with individual issues catalogued. Shows two request options: “Request” next to each issue and “Request a different issue” above.

4. Select the Pickup Location for the library you want to collect the journal from.

Book request form asking for pickup location

Make sure in all cases it is clear which volume, issue and year you require so we can supply exactly what you need. Complete the field provided where necessary. 

5. Click Request to complete your request. Your request will be fulfilled the next day. 


How do I make an interlibrary loan request?

Interlibrary loans allow you to get items that we don't have in NUsearch from other libraries.

Our interlibrary loan form will check NUsearch before making a request, meaning that if we already have what you want in the library you'll be directed straight to it.

To make a request click Interlibrary Loan form from the main menu

NUsearch main menu with “Interlibrary Loan form” option highlighted
Once in the form, use the options at the top to select the material type: Article, Book or Journal. For best results complete the form with as much detail as you can and then click Submit.

Interlibrary Loan form with options at the top to choose Article, Book, or Journal

NUsearch will check the catalogue to see if what you want is in the library:

  • If the item is available electronically you will be taken directly to it.
  • If it is available in print full details will be provided in the Find in library section

If neither is the case No full text will be indicated and you will be offered the chance to make an interlibrary loan request. If you haven’t signed in you will be prompted to do so before you see this option.

NUsearch showing there is “No full text” with the option to make an Interlibrary loan request

Click on Interlibrary loan request to submit a request. All the details you have already added will be pulled through into the request. Check these are correct and then complete the Delivery details.

 Delivery details section of an interlibrary loan request

All articles are delivered by email so the format is set to electronic. For books and journals it will be set to physical.

You will need to choose a library to pick up books and journals. Although articles are sent by email you will still need to complete this field as it is mandatory.

Use the comments field to provide any additional information. Then check the box to say you have read the copyright statement and click Request to submit your interlibrary loan.


Can I make a booking to see an item from Special Collections?

You can use NUsearch to make online bookings to view Special Collection items in the Manuscripts and Special Collections Reading Room.

Our Special Collections contain over 80,000 rare and distinct books and printed items that can be used for learning and research. They are organised in named collections. Items cannot be loaned or requested for pickup at another library, but they can be consulted by anyone in the Reading Room at King's Meadow Campus.

To make a booking for a particular day either:

For more information about our Special Collections see the Manuscripts & Special Collections website.


Can I pay my fines/charges in NUsearch?

You can view and pay your fines/charges in My Library Card in the Library Charges tab

Click on the Pay Fine link. This will take you through to a secure payment system where you can pay by debit/credit card. There is a minimum payment of £1.

My Library Card showing the Pay Fine link in the Library Charges tab

You can also pay fines/charges:

  • over the phone by debit/credit card
  • in cash or credit/debit card at the lending desk

Can I book study rooms in NUsearch?

Bookings are no longer made via NUsearch. We've change the way you book rooms to improve the process.

You can now book rooms using your University Outlook Calendar. For full details on how to make a booking:




How do I change the text size in NUsearch? 

You can increase or reduce the text size by using your browser's zoom function.  On most browsers:

  • pressing the Control and + keys together will increase the size of the page
  • pressing the Control and - keys together will decrease the size of the page
  • pressing the Control and 0 keys together will return the page size to the original

On a Macintosh computer, you should use the 'Command' key instead of 'Control' in these combinations

For more information, visit the University’s Accessibility webpages.



University of Nottingham Libraries

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