Two tutorial videos with tips on how to search for information

people working on the computer
Author: Sandra Pérez

The recordings of the series of seminars on the UOC Library search engine are now available for viewing.

One of the videos presents the basic features of the search engine, while the other covers more advanced techniques.

The Library search engine retrieves UOC learning resources and the reading lists recommended by teaching staff in the classrooms.

In November, the Library held a series of webinars on its search engine in collaboration with the ProQuest group, the supplier of the tool.

The recordings of the sessions provide practical examples of how to find different types of content, ranging from books and journals to UOC learning resources and the reading lists recommended by members of the teaching staff.

The basic search: the starting point

A tutorial video on the basics to provide users with an overview of the Library search engine. 


The main concepts covered are as follows:

  • In addition to the search engine, on the home page of the Library website there is a section called Search the digital collection by field, where you can consult the full list of databases and platforms available to you. For example, vLex, Aranzadi, APA PsycTherapy… You can apply a filter to see the resources of your field of study.
  • By default, the Library search engine retrieves information from all the UOC's information sources: the Library's catalogue, the recommended reading for courses, learning resources, and the UOC's O2 repository. Use the dropdown list in the search box to limit your search to one of these sources.
  • You can set your language preference for the search engine from My account / Personal details / Default interface language. You can choose between Catalan, Spanish and English. The search engine will immediately switch to whatever language you select.
  • The filters to the side of the search engine will help you refine the results of your search. The first filter is Availability, which includes the type of format you can search for (Online or Physical items). Select the Peer-reviewed journals option to retrieve high-quality academic information endorsed by experts in the subject area. Enable the Open access filter to see resources that are freely available to everyone, and which can be consulted without entering a Virtual Campus password.
  • Consult examples of how to find an ebook, an article, a doctoral thesis, a learning resource or the recommended reading for a course.

The advanced search: find "pro level" information

You will reduce "information noise" (i.e. results you are not interested in).


The university community carries out close to 140,000 searches in the Library over the course of a month, and only 10% are performed with advanced search techniques. A series of very simple tricks can help you find exactly what you are looking for in less time:

  • The Advanced Search tool is integrated into the search box. The button only appears on the results page after you have performed an initial search on the Library website.
  • As the first step, start a session in the search engine with your campus username and password to see all its features.
  • You can perform searches in any language, but the majority of scientific and academic publications are written or indexed in English. So, you will probably retrieve many more results if you search in English.
  • Consult a practical example of how to perform an advanced search.

The asterisk (*) is a wildcard. If you use it next to the root of a word, you will recover results that include all its variations.

Entering cultur* will retrieve content with the terms culture, cultural and culturally

If you add * or a question mark (?), you will replace a single letter of the word.

Entering wom?n will retrieve content for women in plural and woman in singular.

Adding quotation marks (" ") at the beginning and end of a phrase retrieves results for exactly those words.

If you search for "borderline personality disorder", you will see only documents that contain this exact phrase.

The operators AND, NO and ORallow you to combine search terms.

If you search for college OR university, you will retrieve information that contains one or both terms. 

  • Save interesting and useful results to your favourites so that you can consult them whenever you want. All the results have the Add this item option, which is represented by a drawing pin. You can consult them in the My favourites section by clicking Menu, or if you have already logged in, your name (in the top-right corner of the page).
  • You can save your favourite searches with the button Save query on the results page, which is also represented by a drawing pin (and only visible when you are logged in). In the My favourites space you can consult all your saved searches and search history
  • You have the option of enabling alerts to receive notifications when content related to your favourite searches is added. You can do this in My favourites. 

Set up alerts to stay up to date with a subject or the latest research in a specific field of study.

  • Each result has a permanent link (permalink) you can use to share the document reference (not the full text).
  • If you click any of the search results, you will open a sheet with additional information and options. You can export the citation to the Mendeley bibliographic manager, print it out (not the full text) or automatically cite the source.
  • Discover how to search for journals in the search engine. In the top menu of the search engine there is the Journal search option, which provides access to the full list of publications to which the Library subscribes, by subject area.

Consult the guide on the Library search engine to learn more.

This latest version of the Library website was unveiled in September, at the start of the academic year, and so far it has been running alongside the previous version. Bear in mind that the old Library website will no longer be available from 11 February 2022.