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Search@UW Guide: Home

An overview of the new search system


Search@UW is a service of the UW System Libraries, providing an integrated search and discovery experience across a wide range of print and e-resources, including UW System and UW Milwaukee print collections, digital images, institutional repositories, and huge collections of academic literature. Searching these resources traditionally required multiple searches at multiple sites.

It is strongly suggested that you sign in, using your ePantherID, when using Search@UW. This allows you to easily request items from other campuses, check status of items you have on loan, or manage an ‘e-shelf’ of resources. Search@UW also allows you to set your main subject interest and level (student/faculty, etc.) which will impact how results are presented. Finally,  some e-resources are only searchable if you’re logged in from off campus, such as Web of Science. All UW System collection records are discoverable without signing in.

Because access is automatically granted to 1Login services during the same browser session, it’s important to make sure you close your browser when you have completed all your work or leave your computer. This will prevent unauthorized access to your services and/or files.

Where should I start?

Search@UW allows you to find books and articles using one interface. It features broad coverage and ways to limit your results.

If you are doing detailed research on a focused topic, however, a subject-specific library database may be more appropriate.

Can't find what you are looking for?

The article search covers hundreds of millions of scholarly articles and features 100% of the top 10,000 journals (as measured by popularity) and 93% of the top 45,000 journals.

Search@UW is a layer which harvests and integrates a number of separate collections and applications, but these applications and their traditional interfaces are still available via the UWM Libraries homepage.  These include:

The vast range of resources available via Search@UW are continually being updated and expanded.

What am I Searching?

Search@UW gives you a dropdown menu with the following choices:

Everything - The default ‘everything’ provides a single search to all categories below. It will return the widest range of resources available through UWM and resources held at all other UW campuses. Once you see the results from any search, you can refine them using the array of facets in the left sidebar.   The 'available in the library' facet basically replicates the "Books & Media (UWM)" search below.

Articles - It’s called ‘Articles’, but it is actually much broader in scope. This searches a mega-index of hundreds of millions of academic articles from a wide range of scholarly publishers. There are also many image collections, maps, reference entries, repositories, audio-visual content, and hundreds of thousands of full text out-of-copyright  books from the Hathi Trust collection. As in ‘Everything’, you will also have a range of facets to further refine your results.

Books & Media (UWM) - This searches what has traditionally been available via the retired UWM online catalog (PantherCat). However, you will also see other UW campus items when their collections overlap with ours.

Books and Media (UW System) - This is a search of the total UW System collection, or an expanded version of the above search. UW-Milwaukee copies are listed first. If you’re looking for an item across the system to borrow, this search, or ‘Everything’, is your best choice. To request items from other campuses, sign in using your ePantherID.

Course Reserve (UWM) - Use to find readings for your class. You can search by title, class, or instructor name.

Digital Collections (UW System) - This includes digitized and born-digital items in the UW System. It currently includes four collections:

  • UWM Digital Collections – over 100,000 images
  • UWM Digital Commons – Newer UWM theses, dissertations, and other scholarly publications
  • UWDC Collection – Digital collections from UW-Madison
  • Minds@UW – The Institutional repository for UW-System

Historical Society Archives & Milwaukee Archives - This search includes the Wisconsin Historical Society Archives and the archival collection of each UW System library.

Item Statuses

Items listed in Search@UW are not always immediately available, but can be requested through a variety of delivery services. See the above guide for more information.

For More Information

The Search@UW interface is running a product called Primo, which is designed by the company Ex Libris. It was chosen by a UW System committee as part of a formal Request For Proposal process which commenced in 2012. Primo was implemented in 2013.

The vendor strives for constant improvements as part of a rapid release cycle and frequent upgrades. For example, several behind-the-scenes algorithms, such as query enrichment and search expansion rules, are continaullly adjusted to deliver expected and relevant results.

Thousands of institutions worldwide use this system. For additional background, see this Library Journal article about this latest generation of library search engines and this AL Live broadcast about discovery services.