Quick Search Tips

Quick Search allows you to find the following, separately or simultaneously -- choose from the first drop-down menu below the search box to select:

  • Books (both printed and electronic)
  • Journals
  • Articles (from the Quick Search Articles database)
  • Images
  • Audio-visual materials (CDs, DVDs, etc.)
  • Musical scores
  • Maps
  • Library databases
  • Library web pages

To limit your search to ISU collections, choose "Books & more (ISU Collections)" from the first drop-down menu.

Quick Search will find words in any order unless the second drop-down menu is switched from "that contain my query words" to "with my exact phrase" or "starts with."

Tips for new searches:

  • Title search: If you know an item's exact title, choose "starts with" or "with my exact phrase" in the second drop-down menu and "in the title" for the third drop-down menu.
  • "Starts with" in the second drop-down menu can only be used with "In the title" in the third drop-down menu.
  • Author search: Change the third drop-down menu to "as author/creator." There may be variations in the way the author name is formatted, so "that contain my query words" is often the best choice for the middle drop-down menu.
  • Truncation and wildcards: ? for single characters; * for multiple characters, ex. dog? finds dog, dogs; dog* finds dog, dogs, doggerel...
  • To search for a DVD with a specific actor (Tom Hanks, for example), choose Audio Visual in the first dropdown and type DVD Tom Hanks in the search box.
  • Call number searching: the format of call numbers varies, with some containing a period where others contain a space. Input the call number exactly, with all of the spaces and periods, and choose "call number" from the third dropdown.

Tips for working with search results:

  • Quick Search results can be refined through links (facets) in the left sidebar for features such as  Format Type, Creation Date, Topic, Creator, Collection, and Language.
  • To find a physical item housed in Parks Library, choose the "Physical Items" link in the left sidebar at the top of the results page.
  • To get the newest items at the top of the list, look for the "sorted by" drop-down menu and select "date-newest."
  • Different formats of the same title may be grouped together: for example, "Sense and Sensibility" includes several print books, films, and an audio book. Click on "See all N editions and formats" to see all of them.

Off-campus problems

If you don't see the Quick Search box on the home page, you may need to make sure your firewall or virus-checking software is allowing access on ports 1701 and 8991. (The Solutions Center (515 294-4000) can provide assistance with this.)

For other problems, check the Off-Campus Access page or Ask Us! 

To supplement Quick Search:

  • Article Indexes & Databases links to hundreds of databases, listed by title and by subject categories and subcategories.
  • WorldCat covers items owned by thousands of other libraries and offers advanced search features, especially for author searching.
  • Ask Us! to consult ISU librarians for more search tips.