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Using Libsearch: Research a topic

This guide will, based on your needs, give you an insight into how Libsearch can be used in your academic work.

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Researching a topic takes knowledge on how to develop a subject search. In the below boxes you will find suggestions on how to build a search, 1. by key terms, 2. by using the citation network and 3. by using an author as a point of departure.

Researching a topic by keywords

When searching for documents on a subject, narrowing and broadening your searches can help you get a better understanding of the available literature. Libsearch offers various search features that will help you do just that.

Imprecise results? Increase your precision using phrase searching

Using quotation marks [ " " ] will deliver search results where your search terms are adjacent to each other. For example, the search "social media marketing" will return references to texts where this exact phrase is used. Searching without quotation marks will return results where the terms can be present independently, scattered in an abstract, for example.

Like this:

Keep in mind - the above search will NOT find "social media branding and marketing" even though a text with this phrase could be equally interesting for you.

Too few results? Broadening your search using truncation

Using an asterisk [ * ] will return results where the stem of the term is fixed but the following letters differ. For example, the term lobb* will return documents on lobbies, lobbyism, lobbyist, and lobby. And the Danish words lobbyisme, lobbyer, as well.

Like this:

Searching for the word lobbyism will find ONLY results with this exact spelling.

Keep in mind - setting up your asterisk too soon will make your search results fuzzy. A search on poli* will return results on politicians, politics, etc., but also on police, which may not be what you want.

Searching with Boolean operators (OR; AND and NOT) allows you to combine search terms, to make the search more precise. In Libsearch, type the operators in capital letters Otherwise, they will be disregarded.


Narrow results? Broaden by finding references with synonymous or near-synonymous concepts

The boolean operator OR can help you find references with synonymous concepts. For example, to cover all texts of interest concerning payment for work, these closely related terms may apply; pay or wage or compensation. To cover all three in one search, your search would look like this:


Too many results? Find more precise references by combining terms

Using more search terms and the boolean operator AND between search terms will result in references that fit your search problem better. For example to find results on regulation of blockchain in Europe, your search would look like this:


Combining search features

Search features can be used in combination in Libsearch´s advanced search form. The hits from this search will contain either of the search terms or phrases from the first line, in combination with either of the terms in the second line. See "Start your topic search" for use of quotation marks and asterisk.




Usually, your research questions can lead you to your initial search terms. Libsearch presents a set of features that can help you choose additional search terms.

Using the hits from your first searches

Each reference in Libsearch is fitted with much more information than you see immediately. Usually you will be able to find an abstract, keywords, table of content or links to related documents, by clicking the title of the reference. This information can lead you to more understanding of the document, but also to terms, that can help you develop your search.

Reading an abstract may lead you to a better sense of the terminology of the topic, you are currently researching. Reading through tables of contents may do the same. Use terms from the abstracts and tables of contents to enhance your original searches.

Most references are fitted with keywords, some in Danish, some in English. These keywords are clickable and as you click them, the database will perform a new search and show you results based on the keywords. You can also choose to fit them into your search.

Some references contain suggestions for related reading. For articles, you find the information in the left side of the screen. For books, you find it as you scroll down the page.

Click these two examples and note, that they are enriched with information as described above.


Search tip



” ” (inverted commas)

Searches exact phrases

Will retrieve records that contain whole phrases such as ”social media marketing”

Space between terms

Includes all terms

Will only retrieve records that contain all terms


Includes all terms

Will only retrieve records that contain all terms


Searches all terms but not necessarily together

Will retrieve records that contain any of the terms

mentioned, e.g. Denmark OR Danmark


Excludes unwanted terms

Excludes unwanted terms, e.g. piracy music NOT shipping.

* (asterisk)

Includes all word-endings

Used if unsure of word-ending or if you want to include all variants of a term, e.g. environment * = environment, environmentalism, environmentally etc.

? (question mark)

Replaces individual letters

Will retrieve records independently of spelling alternatives, e.g. organi?ation = organization and organisation

Advanced search

Enhanced searching

Offers multiple search options, e.g. author search, title search etc. or any combination of these

”Drop down” below search box

Searches types of materials

Delimits the search to specific formats, e.g. books, journals, theses

Left-hand menu

Refines search result

Narrows your search result by displaying only books etc.


Searches in other languages

Generates results in the chosen language

Use the citation network

Academic documents are interconnected. Any academic document refers to other documents, and many documents are cited by others. By following the citation network you may find valuable sources for your work.

The sources of a document lead you to understand the knowledge base the document builds on. And works citing a document give you insight into how the original document has been used in other research. In Libsearch, many references are fitted with information on the citation network of the document.

Here is an example - click the image to try for yourself. Arrow pointing upwards will lead you to documents citing this one. Arrow pointing down will lead to sources used in this document.

Search for works by a specific author

Often authors will write texts within the same subject field for a long time. If you have found an interesting document, try to look up the author to expand your sources.

Example: Type the author name and click the "Anywhere in the record" drop down. Choose "As author/creator".


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