VuFind Help

The new search interface gives you easy access to the over two million books, journals, electronic resources, audio/video materials, maps and other items at the eight York University Libraries. It includes our eResources, everything in the classic catalogue, YorkSpace, and York Digital Journals, all in one search.

Please note: The original catalogue interface, called the classic catalogue, can be accessed through the library home page and through a link in each item record.

General Search Tips | Advanced Search Tips | Search Results | Management Features | Research Help

General Search Tips

  • Author
    If you are looking for a particular author and only using the first initial, place a wildcard * after the initial. You can search in natural name order or with surname first.

    ex. W* Shakespeare.

  • Title
    Please note that there is no EXACT title searching. You must put an exact title in quotation marks after selecting a TITLE KEYWORD search from the dropdown menu.
  • Subject Heading Field
    When you know the Library of Congress Subject Heading (LCSH), select the subject field search from the dropdown menu.
  • Search Operators
    Search operators can be entered in lower or uppercase i.e. they are case insensitive. Use AND/and to narrow a search and OR/or to broaden a search.

    ex. (China OR India) AND economy

    NOTE: the default operator is AND/and. This means that if there is no Boolean operator between two terms, the AND/and operator is used automatically (like Google).

  • Phrase Searching
    Use quotation marks to search for phrases of more than two words. ex. “Corporate social responsibility”.
  • Truncation
    You no longer need to use the dollar symbol ($) or the asterisk (*) when searching for multiple endings of a word. The system automatically finds words similar to the one you have searched, searching plurals and singulars.
  • Spelling Hints
    The system is searching the closest match based on what can be found in the catalogue, not a dictionary.
  • Course Reserves
    Select Course Reserves in the drop-down menu and enter either the course code or the instructor’s last name.

    Example: biol1010, pols 6410, zorn

Advanced Search Tips

  • Complex Boolean searches

    Advanced search provides an easy way of building your search where you have a complex search topic and wish to use a combination of keywords in your search, some of which are synonyms.

    Say, for example, you want to search for information sources available at the library about the impact of the financial crisis on the economy in the United States. You might execute the search shown below.

    Because you know there are different ways of describing the financial crisis you decide to use synonyms. Synonyms or like terms are combined using the Boolean operator OR/or. These, in turn, are combined with the concepts of economy and united states using the Boolean operator AND/and.


  • Search Fields

    In advanced search mode it is possible to search keywords in one or more fields simultaneously. This sets it apart from basic search mode where you can only choose to search keywords in one field at at a time.

    So if, for example, you are looking for a book relevant keywords can be searched while limiting to title keyword and author keyword fields simultaneously. Advanced search mode allows you to mix and match one or more field limits however you want.

    Fielded searching

  • Limits

    It is possible to apply a number of different kinds of limits in advanced search mode.To limit by language, format or location select the appropriate term from the drop down lists. Or limit to a single date or range of dates by using the “Year of Publication” option.

    For example, If you want to limit your search to materials that are movies the “Films, Videos, DVDs etc.” option should be chosen as shown below:


It is also possible to limit your search to materials that the are available in online/electronic format only:


Search Results

  • Limiting your search via Refine — After you carry out a search, you can limit by Location, Format, Subject, Author, Call Number, or Language.

    image showing how to refine search limits

  • Removing Limits — To remove a limit, click on the minus sign (x) adjacent to the limit you selected.

    image showing how to remove search limits

  • Similar Items — Once you select a record by clicking on the title similar items are displayed on the left hand side of the page.

    image showing how to select similar items

  • Sorting your Results — The default results display is by relevancy, however, you can select to sort by descending, date ascending, call number or author.

    image showing how to sort search results

  • eResources — The format eResources is broad and includes all electronic formats. eBooks and eJournals are a subset of eResources.
  • Subjects — When you want to find similar items through the hyperlinked subject headings in a catalogue record or refine your search, if there are subheadings you must click on the last term of the string to get the complete subject heading string.

    image showing how to select the last part of a subject heading

    If you click on an earlier heading in the string, you will be broadening your search just to that subject heading.

    image showing how to broaden a subject heading search by selecting an earlier term in the string

  • Online Requests — You must be at the full record level and click on one of the following buttons:

    image showing the different kinds of online requests: hold/recall item; intercampus borrowing; in process/on order; request from storage

Management Features

Once you select a record by clicking on the title you will see options which require you to sign on to your Passport York account:

  • Text a call number to your cell phone cell phone icon

    You can text a call number to your cell phone. Be aware that your cell phone carrier texting charges may apply.

  • E-mail a record email icon

    You can send an e-mail with a link to the material you selected.

  • Save Resources to Organized Lists add-to-list icon

    You can log in to your account through Passport York and save resources from both the search results page and from the record view page. You can retrieve and edit these lists at any time.

  • RefWorks Refworks icon

    You can sign on to an existing RefWorks account or create an account.

  • Bookmarks social bookmarkign icon

    This option allows you to bookmark and share via social networking applications.

  • Permanent Links

    The link at the top of the page is always a permanent link and can be included in course web pages etc.

Research Help

In-person research help is available at the research or reference desks. You can also get research help by online chat or IM and by email or telephone.