Library catalogue

The Library catalogue is a search engine that allows you to find resources in the Library’s collection. It includes records for print material (all the books and other items available in the Library building), as well as links to the online content housed in the Library’s databases. Like any search engine, you can perform a very specific search in the Library catalogue (e.g. for the title of your textbook), or you can search more broadly using keywords.

Watch this short video on searching in the Library catalogue.

Library databases

Databases are online collections, providing a search platform to find and access ebooks, journal articles, newspaper articles, theses, videos and more. They have powerful search functionalities and refining options that enable you to create targeted searches.

Watch this short video on searching the ProQuest database to learn more about how to perform an effective search using alternative keywords (combined with AND/OR), truncation and phrase searching.


Searching the Internet through Google or another search engine can be a useful step in the search process. You can use it to:

  • discover background information on your topic
  • find keywords for your search
  • locate materials not often included in academic databases such as reports and other publicly available materials.

It is important that you evaluate any information you find for bias, accuracy and appropriateness before you include it in your assignment.

Tips for effective Google searching

Using AND and OR, phrase searching and truncation (previously covered on the Search strategy page) will all work in Google and other search engines. In addition, there are further ways to improve the performance of your search.

When you perform a Google search, you are searching across the entire freely available Internet. That’s not an effective way to search if you’re looking for certain kinds of information.

Let’s say you’re looking for the prevalence of measles in Australia and you’re particularly interested in information provided by government. A search for prevalence measles Australia returns results from newspapers, organisations, and blogs. Search again for prevalence measles and your results will only be from Australian government websites.

Search tip: enter your keywords followed by site: followed by the type of website you wish to search within

Types of websites:

  • .edu signifies that the page is created by an educational institution
  • .gov signifies that the page is created by a government department or body
  • .org, .com or .co signifies a site created for marketing reasons. These include news sites, and the websites of organisations (though you should note that there is no specific requirements for creating a .org web address and it should not be interpreted as a sign of quality)
  • Country codes allow you to search sites that have been published within a geographical area

A risk of using information from the Internet in your assignments is that much of it can change at any moment. Resources like reports are much less likely to change and they tend to be made available in PDF format.

Imagine you’re interested in researching the jobs of the future. Much of the information you locate when searching for jobs of the future comes from sites that are trying to sell you something. Searching again for jobs of the future filetype:pdf returns reports, which are more likely to be credible.

Search tip: enter your keywords followed by filetype: and the specific file types you are interested in locating.