- What is Quick Search?
- How do I use Quick Search?
- Do I have to use the limiting options in the Refine by: column?
- Is Boolean searching supported?
- Can wildcard symbols be used?
- Can I search for an exact phrase?
- What are my sorting options?
- How do I access the full text?
- What if there is no PDF or Full Text button?
- How do I find books and other items in the library?
- Can I search by DOI?
- Can I search by ISBN and ISSN?
- Can I search by call number?
- Can I browse by call number?
- How do I find materials on reserve for a course?
- Can I search the Catalogue separately?
- Is a Classic Catalogue still available?
- What is the difference between the Catalogue and Classic Catalogue?
- How do I login to My Library Account?
- Will My Library Account change?
- How do I export my lists of saved items to my new Library Account?
- Can I save my searches and receive e-mail alerts when items match my search?
- Questions, Problems, Suggestions, Comments?
What is Quick Search?
Quick Search is an interdisciplinary search and discovery tool that allows you to find physical and online resources on a wide range of topics in a variety of formats, including articles in journals, magazines & newspapers, books, games, maps, music, periodical titles, reports, videos and more.
Quick Search simultaneously searches McMaster's library catalogue and the contents of several subscription and open access databases. Search results are presented in a single list, but can be separated by selecting the "Library Catalogue" or "Articles & More" limit in the Refine by: column on the left.
Quick Search is not a comprehensive search of everything available through McMaster libraries. You may need to search other resources to find all relevant material on your topic. Library staff, research guides and video tutorials can be consulted for resource recommendations and search strategies. The Database facet in the Refine by: column of Quick Search can also help you identify which resources may be worth exploring in more depth. Searching a specific database will typically provide more search options, limits and targeted results.
How do I use Quick Search?
Quick Search supports keyword searching. Go to discovery.mcmaster.ca and enter your keyword(s) into the search box. When the search is submitted, the results can include both physical and online items containing your keyword(s). The Refine by: column on the left allows you to limit your results by a variety of criteria including Format, Location, Subject, Language, Geography and more.
To search for keyword(s) anywhere, use the Keyword option in Basic Search (default) or Advanced Search. NOTE: Numbers can also be used in a Keyword search.
To search by author, title or subject keyword(s), go to the Advanced Search and select the relevant options from the drop-down menus.
Do I have to use the limiting options in the Refine by: column?
Using the limits is not required, but can be very helpful! For example, after you do your search you can limit your results to scholarly journal articles by selecting "Academic Journals" from the Format facet.
Keep in mind that the limiting options listed in the Refine by: column may not apply to all results. Some only apply to Library Catalogue results and some only apply to Articles & More results. The following list identifies which facets/limits apply to which results. Those highlighted in bold text apply to both sets of results.
|Refine by:||Library Catalogue||Articles & More|
|• Found In||✔|
|• Publication Year||✔|
|• Date of Publication||✔||✔|
Is Boolean searching supported?
Yes. Boolean operators allow search words to be combined. AND (all words), OR (any words), and NOT (excludes words) are supported. The AND operator is the default operator which means that if there is no Boolean operator specified between words, the AND operator is used.
In the Basic Search, Boolean operators must be entered ALL CAPS.
|• stocks bonds||finds items containing both words, in any order, anywhere|
|• stocks AND bonds||finds items containing both words, in any order, anywhere|
|• stocks OR bonds||finds items containing either word, in any order, anywhere|
|• stocks NOT bonds||finds items containing the first word, but not the second word, anywhere|
NOTE: Using a mix of Boolean operators in a single search string - e.g., (stocks OR bonds) AND prices - will not be processed correctly in a Basic Search. Use the Advanced Search to create these more complex searches. Once the search is entered, the appropriate syntax will appear in the search box - e.g., (stocks | bonds) (prices)
In the Advanced Search, use the drop-down menus to construct a Boolean search. Search words can be restricted to certain fields (i.e., Title, Author, Subject) and a variety of Boolean operators can be combined in a single search.
Can wildcard symbols be used?
Yes. A wildcard symbol (or truncation symbol) can be used in a search to find multiple variations of a word.
The question mark ? wildcard replaces a single character (1) anywhere in the word.
The asterisk * wildcard replaces any number of characters (0 or more) and can be used in the middle or at the end of a word.
|• wom?n||finds items containing woman, women, womin, womyn, etc.|
|• te?t||finds items containing tent, test, text, etc.|
|• te*t||finds items containing tent, test, text, tempt, tenement, testament, , etc.|
|• environment*||finds items containing environment, environmental, environmentalist, environmentalism, etc.|
|• polic*||finds items containing police, policing, policy, policies, etc.|
|• *||finds all items|
Can I search for an exact phrase?
Yes. Put quotation marks " " around the words to find items containing the exact words in the order specified.
What are my sorting options?
Quick Search allows results to be sorted by relevance (default) and date (descending only - newest to oldest date of publication).
Catalogue and Classic Catalogue allow results to be sorted by relevance (default), date (descending only - newest to oldest date of publication) and title (A to Z).
NOTE: Navigating directly to the last page in a list of results is not possible at this time. Use the next, previous and # links at the bottom of the list to move between pages of results. There are 25 records per page.
How do I access the full text?
View full text by clicking on the PDF, Full Text, or Get it @ Mac buttons that appear in the record.
What if there is no PDF or Full Text button?
Try clicking the title of the item in your results list. This will bring you to a more complete description of the item. Links should appear on the left. You may need to use the Get It @ Mac button or other button on this page to see if full text is available.
If there are no full-text links and no Get It @ Mac buttons (as in the example above), search for the title of the source in Quick Search or Catalogue (e.g. Philosophy Compass). If the source title appears in the results, connect to it (or locate it on the shelf) and use the citation details (date, volume, issue, page, etc.) to retrieve the full-text of the item.
If the full-text is not held at McMaster, the item can be requested via interlibrary loan using a system called RACER.
How do I find books and other items in the library?
Material at the library will display a location and a call number where the item is located. If the material is request-able, a Request it button will display. Click this button to submit your request!
Can I search by DOI?
Yes. A DOI (Digital Object Identifier) is an alphanumeric string assigned by a publisher when an item (usually a journal article) is made available online. Thousands of DOIs are indexed in Quick Search and more are being added daily.
- Your DOI may find the Full Text / PDF right away:
- or it may return a Get it @ Mac button for you to select:
Can I search by ISBN and ISSN?
Common identifiers such as ISBN (International Standard Book Number) and ISSN (Internatinal Standard Serial Number) can also be typed into the search box.
- ISBNs can be entered with or without dashes, but removing ISBN dashes is sometimes more precise:
- ISSNs can also be searched with or without dashes, but may be inconsistent.
Can I search by call number?
Yes. If you have a complete call number, enter it in the search box. If you only know the beginning of the call number, try entering it in the search box. Using the "Library Catalogue" or "Location" limits in the Refine by: column may also enhance the precision of your results.
Can I browse by call number?
Yes. If an item with a call number is retrieved, click the hyperlinked Call No. in the brief record [select see all] or full record to browse nearby items with images (Graphical browse - default) or in a list (select List browse).
NOTE: You can also browse by call number in the Classic Catalogue. Select the appropriate call number index from the drop-down menu, type in a call number and select Submit to view a list of nearby items.
How do I find materials on reserve for a course?
Find materials on reserve by entering the course code (e.g., MECHENG 2QA4 ) or instructor's name (e.g., Gary Bone) in the search box, then select the "Course" or "Instructor" facet in the Refine by: column. Click on the course code or instructor's name to view results. An icon resembling a chalk board indicates a course resource is on reserve.
NOTE: You can also search AND browse for Course Reserves in the Classic Catalogue.
Can I search the Catalogue separately?
Yes. Select the Catalogue tab at discovery.mcmaster.ca.
The Catalogue looks and works just like Quick Search, minus the "Articles & More" content.
Is a Classic Catalogue still available?
Yes. A refreshed Classic Catalogue is available at: catalogue.mcmaster.ca.
What is the difference between the Catalogue and Classic Catalogue?
The Catalogue and Classic Catalogue share the same content, but vary in appearance and in some search features and functionalities. Which version of the catalogue you use is a matter of personal preference and need.
The Catalogue supports keyword searching and provides a variety of limits to refine search results. The Catalogue looks and works just like Quick Search, minus the "Articles & More" content.
The Classic Catalogue supports both keyword and browse searching.
The default search option in the Classic Catalogue is a keyword(s) anywhere search. To find keywords in the title, author or subject fields, use the Advanced Search.
To browse the Classic Catalogue, choose one of the browse indexes from the drop-down menu (i.e. Title, Journal Title, Author, Subject, Medical Subject, etc.) NOTE: There is no "browse" radio button to select - picking one of these indexes will automatically result in a browsable list. Once the desired index is selected, type in a word, phrase, letter or number to generate a browsable list of items beginning with the characters entered. See the table below for descriptions of each browse index with examples.
|Browsing the Classic Catalogue|
|Title||Browse an alphabetical list of all titles.||lord of the rings
romeo and juliet
|Journal Title||Browse an alphabetical list of journal, magazine and newpaper titles.||globe and mail
|Author||Browse an alphabetical list of personal and corporate authors. Names of individuals should be entered last name (i.e., surname) first.||king stephen
ontario council of health
|Subject||Browse an alphabetical list of LCSH (Library of Congress Subject Headings).||motion pictures
world war 1939-1945
|Medical Subject||Browse an alphabetical list of MeSH (Medical Subject Headings).||cardiovascular diseases
delivery of health care
|Series||Browse an alphabetical list of series titles.||international congress series
grove ethical studies
|ISBN/ISSN||Browse a numeric list of ISBNs (International Standard Book Numbers) or ISSNs (International Standard Serial Numbers). Enter the entire standard number or the beginning of a standard number, with or without dashes.||978-0345810366
|Call Number - LC/NLM||Browse an alphanumeric list of LCC (Library of Congress Classification) and NLM (National Library of Medicine) call numbers. Enter the entire call number or the beginning of a call number. Spacing between characters may have to be adjusted.||HF 5001
WY 128 .V831
|Call Number - CODOC||Browse an alphanumeric list of CODOC call numbers. The CODOC classification system is used for some government publications in Mills and Thode libraries. Enter the entire call number or the beginning of the call number. Spacing between characters may have to be adjusted.||CA1 Z 1- 91A16H
US1 AB - C55
|Call Number - Local||Browse an alphanumeric list of call numbers used locally. Enter the entire call number or the beginning of a call number. Spacing between characters may have to be adjusted.||mvc 60
|Course Reserves - Course||Browse a list of course reserve materials by course code.||history 4a06
|Course Reserves - Instructor||Browse a list of course reserve materials by instructor. Enter the last name (i.e., surname) first.||frager, ruth
Library accounts now have PIN codes in order to make them more secure. You will be prompted to create a PIN the first time you log in. Here’s how:
- Select My Library Account from the top right corner of the page.
- On the login screen, enter the 14-digit barcode number on your McMaster ID card. Leave the PIN field blank. Click Submit.
- When you are prompted to enter a new PIN, choose a numeric code at least 4 digits long.
The system will log you into your account and save your PIN. The next time you need to access your account, enter both pieces of information on the login screen. Always remember to log out of your account, especially when using a public or shared computer.
Will My Library Account change?
Library accounts will now have PIN codes in order to make them more secure. You will be prompted to create a PIN the first time you log in.
All current checkouts and hold requests in your Library Account will automatically move into the new system. Lists of items saved in your existing account, however, will need to be exported into the new system.
Option 1: Before October 31, 2017 you will need to export any lists of items that you have saved in your existing Library Account.
Export your lists from your account and import to your preferred citation management tool. The main Library Catalogue interface on our website makes it easy to export your lists to EndNote, EndNote Web, and RefWorks, and in more general citation file formats BibTeX and RIS. After the new catalogue is launched, use this link to access your previous Library Account in our old Library Catalogue (VuFind) and retrieve your lists.
Link to Previous Library Account: Library Catalogue (VuFind)
Video: Exporting Saved Lists from the Library Catalogue (VuFind)
Note that if you've created lists using the Classic Catalogue they are separate from those in the main catalogue. You can print or e-mail those lists after logging into your account from the Classic Catalogue. After the new catalogue is launched, use this link to access your previous Library Account in our old Classic Catalogue and retrieve your lists.
Option 2: After August 16, 2017 you can recreate your lists in your new user account by following the steps below:
- Do a search in the new catalogue for an item on your list.
- Click the folder icon under Additional actions: for your item in either the search results or the record detail page.
- Repeat steps 1-2 for each item on your list.
- Click the My Folder link at the top right corner of the page.
- Select (check) the items you want to save to a list.
- Choose Save to List from the action toolbar.
- If you are not logged in, you will be prompted to log into your account.
- Once you are logged in, the system displays the Save to My List form. From here, you can either:
- Choose an existing list from the drop-down menu and click the Add button to add the items to an existing list.
- Click Save to new list to start a new list of items. If you create a new list, enter a name and description, and then click Create.
Can I save my searches and receive e-mail alerts when items match my search?
Yes, but this feature only works with Catalogue results. Articles & More results are excluded.
To create and save a search ...
- Go to the Classic Catalogue. NOTE: It is not possilble to set-up this feature in Quick Search or Catalogue.
- Login to My Library Account.
- Select the Catalog link in the header of your Library Account screen.
- Enter your keyword(s) in the Classic Catalogue and submit your search. NOTE: You MUST still be logged in to your account.
- On the results screen, select the Save as preferred search button next to the Search button.
- Select Return To Your Record (top right).
- Your search keywords should now be listed in the Preferred Searches section in your Library Account.
To review and run your searches ...
- Login to My Library Account either in Quick Search, Catalogue or Classic Catalogue.
- Go to the Preferred Searches section of your Library Account.
- To remove a search, go to the Mark to Remove column, check the tickbox next to the relevant search, and select Update List button.
- To remove all searches, select the Delete All Searches button.
- To create an email alert for items that match your search, go to the Mark for Email column, check the tickbox next to the relevant search, and select Update List button. E-mail notification of Preferred Search titles will be sent each week at 4:00 A.M. on Monday.
- To run your searches, click on the Search link within your Library Account. This will run the search in the Classic Catalogue.
Questions, Problems, Suggestions, Comments?
Please feel free to contact us in-person, by phone, email or online chat - http://library.mcmaster.ca/justask
Adapted with permission from Concordia University Library
Last Reviewed: September 18, 2017