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SuperSearch: Search Tips

Effective Searching


Search by keyword if you are looking for items on a particular topic or if you know some details of a title or author but not all.


Search by title when you know the exact title of an item. This includes all forms of material – books, conference proceedings, audio-visual materials, electronic resources, and journals. A title search will also retrieve journal articles.


Search by author to find works by:

  • individual (personal) authors – editors, composers, performers, artists and the like
  • corporate authors – government bodies, organisations, conferences, educational institutions and the like.


  • drucker, peter
  • drucker peter
  • peter drucker
  • drucker, p? (this will bring up any author with the surname of Drucker and first initial of P.

Wildcard Characters

You can include the following wildcard characters in your searches:

  • ? enter a question mark to perform a single character wildcard search. For example, type wom?n to search for records that contain the strings woman, women, and so forth.
  • * enter an asterisk to perform a multiple character wildcard search. For example, type cultur* to search for records that contain strings, such as culture, cultural, and culturally. Or type manag* to search for records that contain strings, such as managing and management.
  • You cannot use the asterisk or question mark at the beginning of a search term.

Further Understanding Boolean Operators

  • To use Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT) within search phrases, you must enter them in UPPERCASE letters. Otherwise, SuperSearch assumes you are searching for all your words unless you type an operator between the words or phrases.
  • Searches with multiple operators are processed in the following order from  left to right; AND, NOT,  OR.

Phrase Search   

To search for a phrase, use quotation marks around  the phrase. 

You can combine both words and phrases in your search.

  • "global warming"

AND narrows the search by finding all the records containing both keywords.

  • "global warming" AND "climate change"
  • vaccines AND virus
  • ecotourism AND australia

OR broadens the search to include records  containing either keyword

  • "global warming" OR "climate change"
  • car OR automobile
  • study OR learning

You can exclude items that contain specific words or phrases.

To do so, type NOT and then type the word or phrase  to exclude.

  • "global warming" NOT "climate change"
  • drugs NOT illicit
  • java NOT coffee