Skip to main content

Hamersly Library

Information and Reference Desk: Primo

For students and staff of the information/reference desk

Search Scopes


There are 5 levels of searching you can do in Primo:

  1. WOU - Searches only materials that Western Oregon Unviersity owns
  2. WOU & Summit - Searches our materials as well as those available thru other universities that participate in Summit
  3. WorldCat - The combined catalog of over 70,000 libraries in 170 countries. Also classifies
  4. WOU, Summit, & Articles, etc. - A "loaded" category! Includes WOU/Summit items, as well as those from what is called the 'Primo Central Index', and a grouping of databases from different vendors.
    • Primo Central Index - An aggregation of 100s of millions of scholarly e-resources retrieved from organizations and universities
    • Articles, etc. - Includes databases from a variety of vendors (EbscoHost, Gale, JSTOR, etc) but isn't comprehensive in searching all databases we have access to by those vendors.
  5. Ebscohost Databases - Seaches all databases that we subscribe to by Ebscohost. It doesn't include any other of our database vendors though!





1. Direct book-seeking patrons to begin at the WOU-level and expand to Summit if WOU doesn't hold it. If the item isn't available in Summit (or all copies are checked out) and the patron still wants a copy, look for it in WorldCat

2. Using the 'WOU, Summit, and Articles, etc.' scope is an act in futility. Unfortunately it is also the default search scope on the Kiosk machines. When you're helping patrons, direct them to change that scope

3. It is more practical for patrons to use an applicable Research Guide to find appropriate databases, then it is to use the 'Ebscohost' field. If a patron is doing database research, direct them to the Research Guides.


Course Reserves

The course reserves are populated of items that WOU owns, as well as personal items that departments or professors “loan” to the library each term (or longer). 

Patrons can use the 'Course Reserves' to search using the:

  • Name of the Item (i.e. 'Discovering Nutrition')
  • Course Code/Number (i.e. PSY 301)
  • Professor's Last Name (this method not recommended, as not all professors may be listed) 

Once the patron has found the item, they will need to take the call number over to the checkout desk


Some course materials will appear with a Library of Congress call number (i.e. RS57 .M67 2014), while others will appear as “##-### pc” (i.e 17-67 pc). This denotes that the material is a “personal copy” which was provided by a faculty member or department. 

If a patron is logged into their account, they can view how long they are allowed to check out the item. Checkout lengths for course reserves vary and are determined by the professor.

There are five categories of checkout length:

  • 4-hour (most common)
  • 1 day
  • 3 day
  • 7 day
  • 1 Term

New course reserves that Checkout students process and add in Alma won’t appear in the Primo until the next day (system refreshes after midnight). If you know that the reserves for a specific class have been added, you can look up to see if the record exists in Alma. 






Advanced Searching

The 'Advanced Search' function can be accessed from the bottom-right side of the search box, and is the default view on the Kiosk machines.


There are 3 important elements to the Advanced Search function:

1. Search Scope - The default search scope is very broad, so delimit to down to 'WOU' or 'WOU & Summit' before searching.

2. Pre-Filters - You can limit down your search results by material type (book, journal, etc), language (english, french, etc), and by year (last 5, 10, 20). 

3. Boolean Operators - If searching for more than one keyword/phrase, you will use the boolean operators AND, OR, NOT



Boolean Operators


Each Boolean operator will have a different effect on your search results. 

AND: Requires that both search words are present, otherwise it will not be returned as a result. The more 'AND' operators you add, the narrower your results will be (until you get zero matches)

OR: When you want to find either term. Good for finding results that include one term or another that are similar. Examples could be: 'education OR teaching', 'Facebook OR Twitter', etc

NOT: When you want exclude a term that is similar to the one you want. For example, I want research on football, but I'm not interested in college football, or futbal (soccer). Ex: 'football NOT college NOT soccer'


Post-Search Filters

After you perform a search a list of filters will be present on the left side of the results page. What filters are present will depend on your initial search scope, but here are a few examples of the categories you'll commonly see. Use 'Show More' on each category to view more filters.

Availability: Goof for narrowing down to either electronic, or physical items. 

Resource Type: A more specific version of the 'availability limiter'. Great for limiting yourself to one specific type of material, be if physical or digital. Some patrons will look for information but want it only in journal or book form.

Date: Good for patrons who are looking for current materials only. Articles about educational learning methods from the 1930s probably won't do an edcuation major a lot of good in designing their classroom activities. However, if they were looking only for historical perspectives, it may be helpful to limit your End Date down to the 1970s

Physical Location: Also great for patrons who are looking for books in a certain section. For example, an education student who needs a book about a disability, but it needs to be child appropriate. Limiting yourself to juvenile would be very helpful

Language: Can come in handy when a patron needs the book in a specific foreign language (or is looking at a foreign topic but still needs it to be written in English



Results List

Item Format: Located at the top of the item record. If the item does not have a 'cover image' it will be replaced with an image of the item format. 

Basic Details: Will always have title listed at top and typically include the publisher, author and year of publication. Clicking on the title of the item record will open up the complete details for that item

Access Method/Availability/Call #: Shows ways in which the item is available to the patron, and includes Call # if physically available or part of Course Reserves. Access is color-coded:

  • Green: Available in library (not checked out) or available online
  • Orange: Not available in library (or is checked out), but is available at other Summit libraries
  • Grey: Checked out of library and not available, or library does not own and all copies available at Summit libraries are also checked out



Patron Requests for Summit Items

This process is for when you, or a patron, are ordering a book for yourself. If you are ordering a Summit item on behalf of another patron, please follow the steps for ordering an item for a patron in Alma.


Once you've found an item available in Summit that you'd like to order, click on the item title to open up the full record.



If you are not already signed into your portal page or library account, you will need to do so before accessing the Summit ordering feature.



Once you are signed into your account, the 'Get It' window will change and show a hyperlink for placing the Summit request.



Click the hyperlink and the box will refresh into the Summit request form. Click 'REQUEST' to finalize the request.




Accessing Online Materials

Patrons may access both books and journal resources electronically. Some resources, typically journals, will have a variety of access methods and date ranges.

Online Books:

Click on the 'Online Access' area to open up the item's full details.


The patron will need to sign in to their account in order to see what full-text methods are available. If they are on the campus network, they will not be required to sign in.


Online Journals:

Journals that the university has online access to work mostly the same as electronic books, but there will be coverage restrictions (what years are available), and some resources are only available via an "as-needed" service called 'Get It Now'.


This particular journal is availalbe from three different databases. Two of them have access starting from 2001, and one of them is from 1998 to current. 

We can also purchase specific articles from 1978 and 1998 using the 'Get It Now' on-demand service.


NOTE:  'Get It Now' does not allow you to browse journal articles (like the regular databases would) but is used for accessing specific articles.