OneSearch: Top 5 Tips

Thanks to those who attended the first Research Bites session on 2015-16 on Top 5 OneSearch Tips. This session was for anyone who hadn’t had the chance to explore some of the more advanced features of OneSearch, the Library discovery tool.

Unfortunately it wasn’t possible to record this session, so here are the tips in brief:

1. Log in with your University account

  • Get access to what we have paid for on your behalf, on and off campus
  • See immediately how long you can borrow items for
  • Access personalised features and your library account
    • Renew, request
    • Update Personal settings to aid relevancy ranking
    • Access the e-shelf

When using Library resources as a distance learner/researcher, using the VPN is also a useful solution.

2. Use the right tab for your purpose

  • Books and More = physical library and ebooks, journal titles, theses, DVDs…
  • Articles and More = Journal articles, full text and abstracts, book chapters, DOI
  • Everything = everything, regardless of format

Be aware that your keywords will need to be adapted, depending on the type of information you’re looking for.

3. Know the search tricks

  • For truncated searches use an asterisk: behavio*
  • For exact phrases use quotation marks: “cognitive behaviour therapy”
  • To include any word or phrase use OR: cognitive behaviour therapy OR CBT
  • To exclude a term use NOT: football NOT american
  • To group terms use brackets: (“cognitive behavio* therapy” OR CBT) AND depression

4. Refine your search

Ask yourself:

  • Is the type of resource important? Can you exclude any? Should you focus on any e.g. review articles? Some resources types, e.g. data, company reports, market reports, news are NOT covered well in OneSearch. Consider using an individual database.
  • Is the date important? Be able to justify your date limit e.g. after an important review, report, change in legislation.

OneSearch sorts by relevance. Sort by date will kick out the relevance, so you can instead use the date limiter

5. Use the e-shelf

  • Add your results, either from the list, the whole page of results or individually
  • Organise your results, make notes
  • Revisit your results
  • Export your results to a reference manager/email/link.
  • Search history: re-run your search
  • Get an alert when new material is added
  • Rss feed

There is also a useful guide to Using OneSearch on the Library website.


How often is the search alert sent? Every week. There isn’t currently a feature to change the frequency of alerts.

What happens if I find a broken link in OneSearch? Please ask for help with as many details as you can.


Published by

Lancaster University Library | Research Bites

Supporting teaching, learning and research at Lancaster University.

2 thoughts on “OneSearch: Top 5 Tips”

  1. Thanks very much indeed for the session on One Search secrets.

    If I may ask a question about e-shelf : Is it possible to save an entire search or should I go page by page. I would like to have the entire search result of say 300 items after refining in one place so that I may have a print out of it and monitor my progress.

    I tried sending to email page by page but it took a long time and there was a problem with formatting the page (there were gaps and the information was spread beyond the page boundaries).

    I would like to have some personal assistance on this and am willing to meet anyone for guidance on preserving my search results.


    1. Hi, thanks for your message! You can only add the search results page by page, or one at a time. There is a link at the bottom left of the search results page to ‘Add page to e-shelf’. In your personal settings you can increase the results per page to 50, which may be a small help. In your e-shelf you can then select all or some of the references, sort them into folders, email them or export them. You may find that learning to use a reference manager like EndNote will be a useful long term solution. I’ll contact you directly to arrange a time to meet. ^Tanya


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