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How to Use RitzDiscovery

Tips for Searching

Searching library databases requires a different approach compared to using Google. Rather than asking a complete question, you should start by selecting just a few keywords based on the main concepts in your research question. 

  • Try using wildcards like the asterisk and question mark. An * (asterisk) can be placed at the beginning or end of a word to capture all variations of that word. For example, child* would generate results that include child, child's, children, children's, childhood, etc. A ? can be used to substitute for a letter. For example, wom?n would generate results that include woman, women, womyn. 
  • Library databases generally only search the exact words you type so you may need to come up with your own alternate terms and synonyms. For example, you could search teen OR teenagers OR young adults OR juvenile OR youth. Using OR in all capital letters tells the system you are giving a command, rather than searching for the word "or". You will get more results than if you just searched for one of those terms.
  • Using quotation marks around a phrase causes the system to search for all the words next to each other in the exact order specified. 
  • The order in which you place your keywords determines how the search system prioritizes each word. Your most important word or phrase should go first.
  • You can group concepts using parentheses. Searching for (teen OR youth) AND (smoking OR vaping OR marijuana)‚Äč tells the system to search for at least one word from within each grouping.
  • Experiment with the options in the advanced search function. Here's an example:
    Advanced searching using a wildcard, subject filter, and filters for material type and date

Expanding Search Results

By default, search results show only items for which our library provides full text access. That means you shouldn't come across articles you can't read in full (if you do, just ask a librarian for help). However, you have an option along the left column of the results list to "Expand results to include items without full text," which will increase the number of results retrieved and it will include items for which you would need to make request to borrow from another library.

For accessibility concerns about the library website, please contact Tina Kiernan.