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Using One Search

Using the library's search tool, One Search, to find journal articles, books, book chapters and much, much more.

InfoSkills Toolkit

If you're new to searching, the InfoSkills Toolkit is an easy, self-paced training guide to walk you through the basics of:

The information, tips and advice in the InfoSkills Toolkit is suitable for all of the searching tools available through the JCU Library. Some search tools have their own variations or quirks, and you should consult the search tips for those tools to get the most out of them.

You will find One Search specific search tips below.

Operators (e.g. Boolean)

Boolean operators are terms that tell search tools how to combine your search terms. They can get you a wider range of results, and make sure the results you get are more on-topic.

Use capital letters when writing Boolean operators so your search tool knows it is a operator.


Use AND to narrow your results to items with both terms. Any results that do not mention both will not be displayed.

Pottery AND mesoamerica will only find works that mention both terms. Any works talking about pottery that do not mention mesoamerica will be weeded out of your results

Use this to combine your key concepts to ensure your results are relevant.


Use OR to combine terms that are interchangable - it doesn't matter if you get either or both, as long as you get at least one. For example:

Pottery OR ceramics, or mesoamerica OR "Central America".

This will broaden your search to find more results. Make sure you think about useful synonyms and related terms to combine with OR. Think about the words the authors of your articles might have used.

mesoamerica OR "Central America" OR Olmec OR Maya*


Use NOT to exlude terms you do not want. Use this sparingly, as it will exlude all results with your term, even if they contain all of your other keywords. For example:

(mesoamerica OR "Central America") NOT "South America" will not return any results with "South America" - even if those articles contain valuable information about Central America.

A Note on Proximity Searching

One Search uses Primo, which does not currently support promiximity searches. If you try to use a proximity search with operators like NEAR, AROUND, W/ or ADJ, it will run an AND search instead.

Order of operations

One Search follows the basic mathematical order of operations. That means it will read you search like a sum from left to right, unless you use brackets to show it to compute parts of the “sum” first.

(Pottery OR ceramics) AND (mesoamerica* OR “Central America”)

Use brackets to combine your OR searches together, so that One Search knows you want all of the results for (pottery OR ceramics) combined with all of the results from (mesoamerica* OR “Central America”).

Otherwise you may only get results for “Central America”, because the last thing you asked for, in order from left to right, was OR “Central America”.

You can nest brackets for complicated searches: ((Pottery OR ceramics) AND (mesoamerica* OR “Central America”)) NOT colonial

Phrase searching

If your search terms need to be kept together in an exact order, use "quotation marks" to keep them together as a phrase.

For example: "Central America" will only find results where the words are together in that exact order.

Without the quotation marks, most search tools will assume you meant AND and will search for the terms wherever they appear - not necessarily next to each other.

This will narrow your search to more on-target results.

Truncation and wildcards

When the end of the word might change for spelling or gramatical reasons, truncation uses an asterisk (*) to say "find every version of this word that starts with these letters". For example:

Mesoamerica* = Mesoamerica, Mesoamerican, Mesoamericans

Chemis* = chemist, chemists, chemistry (but not chemical, because it does not start with chemis)

Produc* = produce, produced, produces, producing, product, production...

When the spelling change occurs in the middle of the word, use a question mark (?) as a wildcard to stand in for the letter that might change.

Wom?n = woman, women

Colo?r = color, colour

Before using truncation, think about whether or not the word should be truncated. Ceramics and Pottery are more useful than ceramic* and potter* if you are looking for historical pottery techniques and artforms.

Using limits

One Search searches through all of our holdings, so you will always get a wide range of results - many of which will not be relevant to your topic or discipline. You should always consider using the following limits:

Date - depending on your discipline, you may need to restrict your search to items from the last 5-6 years. Always try to find the most current research.

Content Type - think about the best type of results for your search. Journal articles? Books and book chapters? Focus on the most suitable resources.

Discipline - In One Search, you will find the option to limit your disciplines by clicking on “Personalise”. This will allow you to say you are only interested in results from anthropology, or history and archeology . You can choose multiple disciplines to search.

Subject - this looks through the data in the records to find results with the same subject headings. You can use this limit to narrow your results to results with the most relevant headings.

Searching for fiction

To search One Search specifically for fiction, use the Advanced Search option.

For one of your rows, drop down the field option and change it from “any field” to “subject”. In the search box for that row, write fiction.

Use/add other rows to search for your keywords, authors or subjects. You can also limit your “Content Type” to books to increase the likelihood that your results will return fiction books. Limiting “Collection” to Curriculum Collection will help to find children’s and young adults fiction.

You will still retrieve works about fiction, in addition to works of fiction, but this will help narrow your results to fiction.

Finding theses

You can find electronic and physical theses in our collection by using the filters in One Search.

Using the Simple Search, searchfor your keywords and then drop down the Content Type filter to select Theses.

You can then use the Physical Collection filter to specify a particular campus library to find a printed thesis, or the Digital Collection filter to narrow to JCU eTheses.

Using the Advanced Search, you can drop down the Content Type and choose Dissertations. Fill in the rest of the options in the Advanced Search box as you need to.

Please note, you can also search for digitised theses in ResearchOnline@JCU. Use the Advanced Search option and select Thesis in the Item Type section of the form.

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