Skip to Main Content

DiscoverUR Search Tips (River Campus Libraries)

Guide to DiscoverUR organization and features.

Known Item Searching

A known item search is a search for a specific item; it could be a book, an article, or another type of item (such as a book on Reserve). The user searches for it by typing in some or all of the citations for the item in the search field.

You should do a known item search if you have a specific item you are looking for. If you are just beginning your research or looking for a wide range of resources on a topic, known-item searching is not the best way to start.

Searching for journal articles using a citation

We recommend that you do not paste an entire search into DiscoverUR.  (E.g. "Gates, M.; Tschudi, G. "The Synthesis of Morphine". J. Am. Chem. Soc. 1956, 78, 1380-1393").  Instead, search for the full title of the article in quotes (e.g. "The Synthesis of Morphine") or the full title of a journal "Journal of the American Chemical Society).

If you have a citation that abbreviates the journal name, spell it out completely when searching for it in DiscoverUR.

Known Item Searching - non-Reserve titles

For known-item searching in Primo, less is more; it is best to include the title of the item and also the author if you know it. You do not need to include the publisher, year of publication, or other information. You can use quotation marks around the title if it contains common words.

Below is an example of a known item search. The title was put in the search box without quotation marks, and Primo allows you to choose where you want to search. You can see the second item in the results list is also about Frederick Douglass, but is not related to the item in the search.


If you put the title of the book in quotation marks, you will only get results that match. In this case, the first result is the item itself, and the rest of the results are articles about the book we searched for.

Known Item Searching - Reserves

When searching for a text a professor has assigned for your course, you can search for this known item just like any other. With books attached to a Reading List for a course, the purple Course Tag will appear with the book record.


If you click on the record of the book, a page will appear providing more detailed information about the item including what course it is a part of, and the other texts (if any) that are placed on reserve for the same course.  For example, Tree Finder is on Reserve for BIOL 102: Natural History along with several other books.