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Basic Search



  • Select Keyword to find word(s) anywhere in a record.
  • Select an appropriate option from the drop down menu to limit the search to author, title, subject, series or journal title field.


  • Select Browse to retrieve an alphabetical list of items, with the closest match to your search appearing on line 2.
  • Enter the name (last name first) or a few beginning words of the title, subject*, series or journal title.
  • Select the corresponding field from the drop down menu.
  • WebOPAC will automatically run a browse search on “subject” if “any field” is selected.

*The Library uses the Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) to describe the contents of items. The terms in the LCSH are controlled vocabulary. For example, Education, Elementary is used for primary education. When browsing by subject, the user needs to know the authorised term as prescribed in the LCSH. If you are unsure of the authorised term, do a keyword search.

Combined Search

  • Use Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT, XOR) to combine your keywords, e.g. schools AND Singapore, Holland OR Netherlands, fruit NOT apple, cats XOR dogs.
  • Use search qualifiers to combine search fields, e.g. gopinathan{au} and education{ti} retrieves titles on education written/edited by Prof. Gopinathan Saravanan.
    Search Field author title subject series
    Internal Synonyms (Search Qualifiers) au ti su ser

Beginning a Search

Managing Results


Search History

My Account

Click My Account to view items borrowed/holds, renew your materials, change your PIN, change your address.

  • User ID for NIE & NTU Students: matriculation card number.
  • User ID for NIE & NTU Staff: NRIC/FIN/passport number.
  • User ID for External and Teacher Members: barcode number on the library card.
  • Default PIN for all members: last 4 alphanumeric characters of the member’s NRIC/FIN/passport number.


Search Operators and Search Tips

  1. Boolean Operators
    Boolean Operator When to use Example
    AND When searching for records that contain all the keywords used education AND Singapore will retrieve records with Singapore and education in the record
    OR When searching for records that contain one or more of the keywords used Holland OR Netherlands will retrieve records with Holland and/or Netherlands in the record
    NOT When excluding records with certain keywords tennis NOT table will retrieve records with tennis but not table tennis
    XOR When searching for records matching any of the keywords but not both dogs XOR cats will retrieve records with dogs only or records with cats only
  2. Truncation and Wildcard (Substitution)
    Function Symbol Example When to use Searches for
    Truncation $ teach$ When searching keywords containing a common word root with any number of characters following the root Teach, teaches, teacher, teachers, teaching, etc.
    Wildcard (Substitution) ? organi?ation When searching keywords with variant spellings organization or organisation
  3. Nesting
    Nesting groups together concepts that are alike and instructs the search engine to search the terms in the parentheses first (e.g. stress and (adolescents or teenagers) will retrieve items on stress and adolescents as well as items on stress and teenagers).
  4. Phrase Searching
    Use single quotes for phrase search (e.g. 'creative thinking').
  5. Stop Words
    The search will ignore the stop words (articles, prepositions, or conjunctions, such as a, an, as, at, be, but, by, do, for, if, in, it, of, on, the, and to, among others). If you wish to include the stop words in your search, enclose your expression in double quotes (e.g. "war and peace").
  6. Operator Precedence
    The search statement is processed from left to right except when parentheses are used. Commands in the innermost set of parentheses will be executed first. Order of processing for Boolean operators:
    • AND, NOT
    • XOR, OR


Click on Help or contact the Service Point (Level 2, Library) if you need help with your search.
Telephone: 67903626

Last updated: December 6, 2017  

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