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Learn more about the library's beta search tool and how it can help you in your research.
Last Updated: Oct 10, 2013 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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What is Primo?

Primo is the library's new beta search tool that allows you to search for resources in the library catalog, subscription databases, and across the web in one interface.  Primo aggregates these results into one comprehensive search, exposing you to a wealth of resources.


Primo combines the strengths of both the Library Catalog and Easy Search in one intuitive interface. With Primo you can:

  • Find books (electronic and print), journals (electronic and print), maps, sound recordings, videos, online resources, digital collections, and  more
  • Find journal and newspaper articles from multiple resources simultaneously
  • Refine your results to electronic resources, by availability, location, format, publication year, subject, and more
  • Sign in to access your e-Shelf to view saved results and your library account
  • Export items by email and to EndNote, Refworks, and

How does Primo compare to other library search tools? What exactly do they search?

Library Catalog

The Library Catalog searches UIUC's main collections. You can use it to:

  • Find both print books and eBooks
  • Find bound journals
  • Find newspapers (in various formats)
  • Locate access points to specific databases

You can also use the Library Catalog to access I-Share and request materials from other universities in Illinois.

Easy Search

This search function is located at the top of the library webpage. Performing a search here allows you to:

  • Find materials in the Library Catalog
  • Search in subscription databases
  • Browse resources from several eBook vendors
  • Search Google and Google Scholar
  • Search Microsoft Academic Search



When to use Primo

Try Primo when...

  • You are finding a known item.
  • You are starting your research. Primo casts a very large net and can bring back many books, articles, web sites, and more.
  • You want to virtually browse the library's collection. See the page in this guide on Search Options.
  • You want to save your searches and resources you find to your personal e-Shelf.
  • You would like to set up an RSS alert for new items that interest you.
  • You need to refine your results by availability, location, format, publication year, subject, and more.

Consider other tools (VuFind, Databases, etc) when...

  • You want to search a specific database. Some databases have not yet been incorporated into Primo (e.g. Proquest databases). Additionally, items in the University Archives are not yet incorporated into Primo.
  • You want to only find books. While you can use Primo for this, you may have an easier time using VuFind.
  • Your research topic has developed and is narrow enough that you may find more relevant results by using specific article databases or VuFind.

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