Searching – a step by step instruction for beginners

The principles of searching apply for both printed and digital documents. The following outlines the basic steps for searching in

What am I searching for?

Before your start to search in, think about what you are actually looking for:

  • Are you looking for a specific title (e.g. to answer a question, retrieve a certain text, film or music record)?
  • Are you looking for relevant information about a certain topic? Are you looking for scientific information in particular?

Find appropriate search terms

Depending on what you aim to find, you need to pay more or less attention to search terms.

  • Search terms to retrieve information

In most cases, it is sufficient to search for title, author or a unique reference (e.g. ISSN, ISBN, and DOI). Make use of the filter in Avoid special characters and less informative words (like “the”, “and”, “or”). Instead, concentrate on meaningful keywords such as nouns or phrases.

  • Search terms to search for relevant information on a topic

Start your search with a general search term for your topic (e.g. “globalisation”). Use the functionalities in (filter) to then explore the vast number of results and find more precise search terms and subordinated topics.

Following this, it is worth taking a closer look at the context information provided with a result. This will deliver pre-defined and differentiated subject terms for your topic, relevant authors and abstracts, all of which can serve as an important help for focusing closer on the topic.

For more information here: “Step by step”.