University Library

Search Options and Tips

Search options

Simple search

All words you enter are searched for in all categories (author, title, year of publication, subject heading, etc.) as well as all types of media.

If you do not use any logical operators such as ODER/OR or NICHT/NOT, the system will automatically search for all the entered terms (UND/AND). Please note that if you search without logical operators, you will only receive results which contain all of the search terms exactly as you entered them.

Next to the search field, you can choose which collection you want to search.

Advanced search

The advanced search allows you to search for a combination of different categories such as title, author, ISBN, subject classification. You can also filter your search by material type, language, date of publication, and collection.

Search tips

Logical/Boolean operators

If you want to enter several search terms, you can use logical operators (UND/AND, OR/ODER, NOT/NICHT) to tailor your search. These must be capitalized.


Celtic AND IrishCeltic and Irish; result should contain both terms
Celtic NOT IrishResult must contain the word Celtic but cannot contain the word Irish
Celtic OR IrishResult may contain either the word Celtic or Irish or both terms

If you do not include an operator between two terms or phrases, the word AND will be implied when conducting the search.

Searching by phrase

If you would like adjacent words to be applied as phrases, put them in quotation marks. The advanced search also allows you to choose the setting “contains the exact phrase.” This allows you to combine single words or phrases with each other in your search.


global warmingSearch for both terms in this exact order
climate change impactSearch for resources containing both the phrase "climate change" and the word "impact"
climate change OR "global warming"Search for resources containing either the words "climate change" or "global warming" or both phrases

Truncation, wildcards, placeholders

Using a placeholder, you can search for terms containing the root word, such as those with alternative spelling or endings. You can use the following placeholders:

?Replaces exactly one letter
*Replaces several (including zero) letters


Me?erSearch for Meier, Meyer, Mejer etc.
child*Search for child, children, childhood, etc.

Grouping search terms within an inquiry

To group terms within an inquiry, you must put them in parentheses. It may also be advantageous to include logical operators.


shakespeare (tragedy OR sonnet)Search for Shakespeare AND either tragedy OR sonnet

Topic search

Search by subject category

The University Library uses the Regensburger Association Classification (RVK) to manage and arrange its holdings.

You have a number of options to search for literature in a specific subject category.

  • You first need to choose the subject category using RVK Online. Then under “Suche lokalen Bestand” on the right hand side, select “UB der TU Berlin.” You will then be taken to the Primo Knowledge Portal and shown a list of titles in this subject category. However, please pay close attention to an item’s location as it may not be at the University. This is always listed under “Locations.”
  • If you already know which subject category you want to search, you can conduct your search directly in the Primo Knowledge Portal. Enter the category without spaces and with a question mark at the end, e.g. category (RVK) "ZP3710?" (wind energy)
  • If you find relevant items through a different search in the Primo Knowledge Portal, you can view their subject category in the full view and conduct a search for further literature in this category.
  • You can then filter your results by the subject classifications in the Central Library (RVK) or by the subject classifications of the department libraries (e.g. Physics Department Library).

Search by subject heading

A subject heading describes the thematic focus or relevance of a publication. The same subject heading is used for different items on the same topic, even if this term is not used in the publication’s details (title, subtitle, etc.). The subject heading is in German regardless of the publication’s language.

All available subject headings can be found in the OGND (Gemeinsame Normdatei).

You have several options when searching for resources by subject heading:

  • Determine the subject using the OGND. To search using this subject heading, you must select “subject” from the drop-down menu in the Primo Knowledge Portal.
  • If you find relevant items through a different search in the Primo Knowledge Portal, you can view all the assigned subject headings in an item’s full view and conduct a search for further literature using these subject headings.
  • You can then filter your results further by other subject headings on the right hand side.

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