Library Search provides access to articles and all the books and resources of McIntyre Library and the UW System.

Use the arrows below to progress through the guide, or use the Table of Contents menu above to jump ahead to the section you need.

Starting your search

First, identify your search terms.

  • Think of 2-3 words or a short phrase to describe the main concepts in your research topic.

Type your search terms in the search box. If you are searching for a phrase, put quotation marks around it:

Try it: “Dirty Bombs” Iraq

Then hit search.

Start with fewer keywords, and add more as you go if you need to narrow down your results.

Finding a specific item

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Find a book:

  • Type a few keywords from the title of the item, as well as the author’s name, if you know it.

Try it: Alexander New Jim Crow
         (author + book title)

  • To limit to books at UW-Eau Claire, choose Books, Media & More UW-Eau Claire using the dropdown search menu at the top of the screen.

Dropdown menu

Finding a specific item

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Find a movie:
  • Click "New Search" in the top banner.
  • Type in the director or actor’s name, if you know it, along with the title of the movie.

Try it: Star Wars Ford (movie title + actor last name)

  • At the left of the page, choose “More options” for the Audio-Visual type

More options

Finding a specific item

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Find a specific article:
  • Click "New Search" in the top banner.
  • Type in the author’s name and part of the article title.

Try it: Thompson Micro-ethics (author name + part of title)

Search terms

To locate articles/books about a topic or question, think about the important words in your question.

Social media and the Arab Spring.

Try it: Search these topics using the terms in bold.

Brainstorm related terms:

Now make a list of the terms related to the important words you identified.

Social media and the Arab Spring:

Social networking
Facebook demonstrations

Narrow/expand your search results

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Let’s find some articles about national security in the United States.

Try it: In the search box, enter: “national security”

  • At the left of the search results, examine the “Refine My Results” options.
  • Using the tools at the left, limit the “Creation Date” to 2005-2015
  • Under “Topic” choose “United States”
  • Under “Show only” at the top left, choose “Peer-reviewed journals”

Narrow/expand your search results

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Sometimes a search does not give us as many results as we expect. Here are some reasons:

  • You misspelled your search terms Example:

natoinal securty instead of national security.

  • You used too many search terms.

Example: you only get very few results when you search for national security united states surveillance social media phone companies.

  • Rethink your search terms.  


Review your results

Look over your results.

If you see a “Multiple Versions” icon in your results list, several items with the same title have been grouped together. Click on the title to see the items.

Many items in your results list will appear with colored dots.

green dot means the item is available, either to view online or to check out from McIntyre Library.
yellow dot means that the item is not available on campus, but can be requested from another UW campus.
grey dotmean an item can be requested using Interlibrary Loan (ILL)

If a source is available to view online, click the item’s title or the View It link to see the full text.

Item not available?

Do you see "No Full-text" for an article?

  • Click "Get It."
  • Click "Sign in for more options" and use your UWEC userid and password.
  • Then select "request a copy" and submit the article request form that appears.

Is your book or DVD available at another UW library?

  • Click "Get It"
  • At the right click “Sign in for more options”
  • After you sign in, scroll down and click on “Request.”

Capturing results

Send yourself a search result:

  • Click on “Details” tab at the bottom of that item


  • At the right, choose “Print/Save/Email/Cite ” option

email option

Evaluate your results

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Do you have too many?

Look at Topic words listed on the left of your result list.

  • Try incorporating relevant topic words in your search

Do your results match what you were hoping to find? If not, examine your keywords:

  • Is one word in your search terms skewing your results? Try removing or replacing it.
  • Are your search terms used in the result list in a totally different context? Perhaps there are more appropriate words. Try doing some background research.
  • If there are one or two items that actually match what you were looking for, look at the terminology they use by clicking on “Details.”

Evaluate your results

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Still not finding what you need? → Ask a librarian

Click on the McIntyre Library banner to get back to the home page

You can contact us via chat, email or in phone, or visit us in person. The Research Help box is in the upper right corner.