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Home >> Reference >> News >> Use Find Articles (Primo Search) to Make Searching Library Resources Easier
Primo Screencapture

Need to find articles and other information using the library website?

Check out the Find Articles (Primo Search). Read on for more information.

Here’s how.  At, find the text search box. Type in your search terms here.  Then, set the pull down menu to Find Articles (Primo Search). This will search a large part of the library’s holdings.

What is Primo?

Primo is a new kind of library search engine that allows you to search a large portion of the library’s holdings using a simple search box. 

Why would I use Primo?

  • Searching is fast and easy, it provides a user friendly interface.
  • Search results include many types of sources: books, journal articles, newspaper articles, conference proceedings, dissertations, photos, multimedia and more.
  • You can quickly narrow down search results.
  • You can easily limit to peer-reviewed sources.

What am I searching when I search Find Articles (Primo Search)?

You are searching a variety of the library’s resources including: journal articles, book reviews, dissertations, newsletters, reports, book chapters, web resources, conference proceedings, data sets, journals, government documents and images.   Remember, this represents a great deal of the library’s holdings but does not include everything. It might not be the best tool to use if you are looking for a very specific subject or particular type of data source.

I am overwhelmed by the number of results how can I limit my searching?

Since you are searching such a large number of resources it is important to use well defined search terms and remember to use quotes when searching for a phrase.  For example search for “global warming” instead of global warming. 

Primo offers a variety of ways to limit your search results. On the search results screen, notice that on the left hand side  there are tools to use to refine your search by a number of categories.  First you can limit your results to Scholarly or Full Text Only.  You can also limit by Format Type (journal article, book review, etc.), Subject Area, Date, and Language. 

To limit to results by a particular author, head up to the top of the page where you can see your original search and use the drop down menu to instruct the search engine to only return items where your search term is found in the author field.

Can I save my searches and results?

Yes, you can save your searches by using the login button in the upper right hand corner of the results screen.  You will be asked for you Red ID and Library Pin.  Once logged in, you can click on the Save this Record icon under any item you find and it will be saved in your My Saved Records folder that you can access later.  If you click into your My Save Records Folder you can also email saved records to yourself or export your saved records to a citation management tool.

I am not finding what I need, where else can I look?

Primo is a great resource, and includes many of SDSU’s resources but it will not search all types of information that you might need.  For comprehensive searching, you may need to go into a database that specializes in your research subject area.  To figure out which database to search, look at the top of your Primo results list and see if Primo recommends a  specialized databases for you based on your search terms.  

If you want more information about the specialized databases at SDSU in your research area, look at the Research Guides at  On this page, find the research guide for your research subject and click on it. Once at the research guide for your subject, click on the Articles tab to find specialized databases in your subject area for further research.

Or call the reference desk for help at 619-5994-6728.

Written by: Brittany Geissinger and Linda Salem. Questions?