• Print

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:

New for August 2018 - new features!

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 the library collections discovery tool. Use it to search our extensive library collections, including books, ebooks, journals, e-journals, database and other resources.

You can link to Reading lists and Browzine from the NUsearch homepage.

Last year NUsearch was upgraded, it has new and improved features and is now mobile friendly.


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.  

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


Are there any other search options?

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

Find databases takes you to a separate search box, where you can browse an A-Z list of database names or search for a database if you know its name or the subject area it covers. From here, you can link out direct to each database’s native interface and continue your search from there.

Find e-journals allows you to search our online journals titles. You can search for a particular title, or browse by A-Z list, subject or journal provider. It provides details of full text holdings and links out to the journal provider, where you can search for articles.

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.

From the NUsearch home page we offer links to additional resources that are not yet included in the 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.

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 screen showing expanded results

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.

You can check to see if we have a print version of the resource you are looking for by clicking on the link Check the library for a print copy

If we don’t have the print version at the University of Nottingham, you can check to see if the resource is held by another library, search for it in Google Scholar, or you can apply for an Interlibrary loan and ask us to get it for you.

SFX menu showing interlibrary loan and check for print journal 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, 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:

Export options shown

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:

Export options shown

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 other have used to link common search results together, and also view tags that you have created.

Menu showing three dots to see other menu options

Tags menu option

You can search for tags and view the most 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. You can then readjust your search query using the other drop down options if you want to:

Tags search

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 PIN if you want to:

  • Discover all the electronic resources that NUsearch has to offer
  • Request and renew library items
  • Check your library account
  • Add items or queries to My Favourites
  • View current and historic loans

To sign in to NUsearch click on the Guest icon in the top right hand corner:

Menu showing guest icon

Then click on Sign in:

Menu bar showing Sign in icon in top right hand corner


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

If you are an NHS user or an external borrower you can reserve an item by signing in to NUsearch using your library card number and PIN.


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
  • Block and Messages

From your library account, you can:

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

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 a search result to see the full details of the item you are interested in.

2. Clicking on the Request link that you will see for each copy:

Make a request

3. Selecting your Pickup Location and confirming your request:

Hold request showing the drop down Pickup location field

When the item is returned to the library it will be held for you to collect from the Lending/Circulation desk. An email or letter will be sent to inform you that the book is ready to collect.


Can I book study rooms in NUsearch?

You can book study rooms by clicking on the three dots on the top menu to open up all the available menu options:

Menu showing three dots to see other menu options

Full screen menu with Room Bookings identified

Room Bookings will take you to an UNLOC page where (once you have logged in with your library card number and PIN) you can book group and individual study rooms and also check the availability of laptops and iPads.




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

King's Meadow Campus
Lenton Lane
Nottingham, NG7 2NR

Please see our Help and support page for
telephone and email
contact points