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ENM109 Research Skills Guide: Searching in Primo Search

Primo Search

Primo Search is CSU Library's main search tool. It searches across most of what  CSU Library provides, including:

  • most of the Library's online journal articles, newspaper, and reference entry content
  • books, journals, DVDs and other physical items found in the library
  • many of the Library's eBooks
  • CSU research papers and theses in CRO (CSU Research Output).

Primo Search Tips

With our chosen keywords, here are some hints on using Primo Search:

  • It defaults to a keyword search. If you type in marine conservation, it will search for those words separately (ie: marine AND conservation). To search for a specific phrase, use inverted commas - "marine conservation".
  • The truncation symbol is the asterisk (*). Typing in conserv* will search for conserve, conserves, conservation, conservationist etc.
  • When you find a journal article result, click on the Available online link and follow the prompts to get to the full article.
  • If you get too many results in a search, try going to Advanced Search and changing your search so that you are searching in the Title or in the Subject (rather than in Any Field).
  • Use the refiners on the left of the results screen to narrow your results. There are refiners for things like Resource Type, Dates, and Topics. If you can't see a refiner that you might want, within a list, click on the Show More link at the bottom of the list.
  • Use Advanced Search for multiple search lines and extra limiters.

Activity and Sample Search

Try this in Primo Search ...

If you wanted to search for information on marine conservation in Australia, you could enter a search for ... "marine conservation" australia* ...

  • You can then refine your results by Resource type to get books (including eBooks) or journal articles or other types of material
  • You can refine by Dates to get the most recent material.
  • You can refine by Topics if there is one that matches what you are seeking.

You can go to Advanced Search and change your search so that you search only in the Title, or in a Subject heading. You should get more relevant results. The screen-shot below shows a Subject search.

 In Primo Search Advanced Search, you can change the drop-down menu that defaults to "Any field" to "Subject"

Introduction to Primo Search

For further assistance with using Primo Search, see the Library's Primo Search Help Guide

Uses and Considerations

Primo Search is useful because:

  • You are searching across many resources at once, in the one search
  • You will get different types of materials in your results
  • You can use the refiners at the left of the results screen to narrow your results in many different ways.

Things to keep in mind when searching in Primo Search:

  • You might get too many results
  • The search functions are limited compared to other search tools
  • Because of the way the searching works, you might get results that aren't very relevant.

[If you find that you are not getting good results from Primo Search, try searching in a database or package of databases.]


Accessing an eBook? Watch this video for handy tips.