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Getting the Most Out of BU Libraries Search

Know what you’re looking for?

Including as many words from the title or an author name in your search is a good place to start. For articles, you may have success copying and pasting the article title from a citation, or even the entire citation.

If you know the exact title (or exact portion of a title) you can use quotation marks around your search, but note that variations in spelling and punctuation can prevent a match to the proper result.

The Availability filters allow you to limit to results with online access, or to those physically available in the libraries.


The Material Type filter can also quickly limit results to articles, books, or other types of resources.


For Course Reserves readings you can also search by course number, course name, or instructor name. Use the Course Reserves drop down or button in the advanced search to limit to only reserves readings. See Course Reserves Help for more details.

Doing research on a topic?

Start with a broad search and narrow down using some of these methods:

    • Look for related subject terms. Note that subject terms are not always consistent. For example, when searching for World War II related materials, books may use the subject “World War (1939-1945)”, whereas peer-reviewed articles may use “World War II”. Other records may be missing subjects but contain search matches in a title or abstract field.
    • Keywords matching your search terms will be highlighted in the results.
    • Consider limiting to peer-reviewed articles or by material type.
    • The * character can be used as a wildcard in place of one or more characters. [Examples: recycl*, organiz*, hymn*]
    • Searches can also be nested in (), combined with “” and Boolean operators AND, OR, NOT. [Example: “World War II” AND (sites OR battles) NOT (Normandy OR Pearl Harbor)]

You can find subject-specific assistance within our Research Guides.

Find something unavailable online or in our libraries?

BU Libraries can get it for you through our Interlibrary Loan Services. If you’ve identified an article or other resource you’d like to request within BU Libraries Search, once you’ve signed in you’ll find a link to request the item.



See our Interlibrary Borrowing Help for further assistance.

You can also search beyond BU for books and more using WorldCat Discovery.

Advanced Features

BU Libraries Search allows you to save results, set notifications for newly added resources, and export results to reference managers. See more details here.

We’re here to help

Ask a librarian for further assistance. You can contact us via email, chat, phone, or in person.