What is OneSearch? What does it do?

OneSearch can help you find millions of resources at once. Quickly see what's available without having to search individual databases and the catalog. Use OneSearch to get the overview you need when you're beginning your research, or, if you know the title and/or author of a specific book, use OneSearch to find it quickly.

You can use OneSearch to locate materials in the library, including books, e-books, journals, musical recordings, and DVDs, as well as journal articles and other research sources.

Performing basic searches

OneSearch on LTS home page

Searching Brandeis Library OneSearch is easy. Just type one or more words you are looking for and click the Search button.

OneSearch Library Catalog tab

The Library Catalog tab searches materials owned by the library, both online and physical, so your search results will include print books and ebooks (such as Safari, Books 24x7, and ebrary), as well as print journals, DVDs, microfilms, musical scores etc. The catalog includes holdings information, such as when something is checked out or on reserve.

Let's try it. Suppose you're looking for information about stress. Type the word


into the OneSearch box in the center of the page on the right (keep the default Library Catalog tab) and click the Search button (or press Enter/Return).

OneSearch Library Catalog search: stress

OneSearch will retrieve all the item records in the library catalog that include your keyword "stress."

How many results did you get?

More searching tools

Once you are familiar with basic searching, you may want to try doing more with the Search panel, or use the Advanced Search option. Both of these options offer numerous features for making your searches more precise and enable you to get more targeted, relevant results.

What else can you do with the Search panel?

You can do more than just a simple search with the Search panel. We’ll look at the following search options for getting the best results for your search:

  • Searching for a phrase
  • Excluding words or phrases with NOT
  • Expanding your search with OR
  • Using wildcard characters

Searching for a phrase

To search for a phrase, type quotation marks around the phrase. You can use both words and phrases in your search.

For example, you might choose to narrow your search to materials on stress management after you see that term in the list of Subjects to the left of your search results.

OneSearch stress search with subject stress management highlighted

To search for stress management as a phrase, type the following in the search box:

"stress management"

How many results did you get?

Note: If you do not enclose a phrase within quotation marks, the system will find items that contain the individual words in the phrase, regardless of whether these words are located next to each other in the order specified.

Now try searching stress management without including the quotation marks that indicate it's a phrase. You should get many more results, many of which include the word stress and/or the word management, but not necessarily the phrase stress management.

How many results did you get?

Excluding words or phrases with NOT

You can exclude items that contain specific words or phrases from your search. To do so, type NOT and then type the word or phrase to exclude. NOT is often used to remove irrelevant results from a search; for example, when searching for information about the Java programming language, you might type java NOT coffee.

Note: To use connectors (Boolean operators AND, OR, NOT) within search strings, you must enter them in uppercase letters. Otherwise, OneSearch removes them and performs a simple search that includes all the words or phrases you enter.

You can use NOT to identify which of the results from your search above do not include the phrase "stress management" by typing the following into the search box:

stress management NOT "stress management"

The number of search results you get should approximate the number of results you got from your first (phrase) search subtracted from the number of results you got from your second (non-phrase) search. (See results list on next page).

OneSearch Library Catalog search results: stress management NOT "stress management"

OneSearch stress management NOT "stress management" search

Expanding your search with OR

You can search for items that contain at least one of the words or phrases you type in the search box using the connector OR. This is a good way to expand a search by adding related terms to it.

For example, if you wanted to expand your original search for stress, you could type OR between words or phrases with similar meaning. Try typing the following into the Library Catalog search box:

stress OR anxiety

Note the number of results you get.

Now type


into the search box (your original search).

Did the OR search yield fewer or more results?

Using 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 item records that match the pattern woman, women etc.

* – enter an asterisk to perform a multiple character wildcard search. For example, type cultur* to search for records with the words containing the sequence of letters preceding the asterisk: culture, cultural, and culturally.

Let's try it. Suppose you were looking for materials that contained the related keywords trauma and traumatic . You could enter both words with OR connecting them, or you could do a wildcard search for trauma*

(Note that we use trauma* rather than traum* to avoid searching for records that contain variants on the German word Traum, meaning dream):

OneSearch results for traum* NOT trauma* search



into the Library Catalog search box and click the Search button to see your results.

Note: The system ignores wildcard characters placed at the beginning of search terms. For example, if you type  ?aying or you type *aying, the result list will read as if you had searched for aying.

Grouping terms within a query

You can use parentheses to group terms within a query. For example, you may notice that the results from your search above include additional records you might not have thought to search for which include the keyword traumatology. To see these records, type the following into the search box :

trauma* NOT (trauma OR traumatic)

OneSearch trauma* NOT (trauma OR traumatic) search

Click here to go to Part II of this tutorial.


Please enter your name and email address to retrieve a copy of your completed quiz.

You can enter multiple email addresses separated by commas. If you are doing this for a class, you may need to enter your instructor's email address also.


What did you think of this tutorial?