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Search tips

General tips

  • With * (asterisk) you can abbreviate search terms (truncation). The asterisk replaces any number of letters.
    Example: synta* finds syntax, syntactic, syntaxique and so on.
  • Use quotation marks around the words that must occur next to one another as a phrase (phrase search).
    Example: "Old English"
  • The search is not sensitive to case: uppercase and lowercase letters are treated as equivalent.
    Example: Compound and compound deliver the same search results.
  • German umlauts and ß are converted automatically.
  • You can combine search fields using the Boolean operators AND, OR, AND NOT. (AND is the default setting).
    When you use AND between terms, you specify that both/all terms must be in every item found.
    When you use OR between search terms, you specify that items must contain one of the terms, but not necessarily both.
    Use AND NOT when you want to exclude items that contain the term positioned after NOT.

Catalogue search

Via the Simple Search, you can search across all catalogues and all search fields. If you enter several search terms, they will be linked by AND.
The search bar on the welcome page as well as the search box in the main navigation bar provide the same function.

Selecting Advanced Search, you can use five search fields to refine your query. You can assign different categories to the search fields and combine them using the Boolean operators.

For each search field you can choose a category using the drop-down list. The options are:

  • All fields
  • Title
  • Creator / Publisher
  • Keyword
  • Year

Display of the results and access to the publications

You can sort the results of your query in different ways. The default setting is by publishing year (descending).

Use the drop-down list to choose one of the options:

  • publishing year (descending)
  • publishing year (ascending)
  • creator (A → Z)
  • creator (Z → A)
  • title (A → Z)
  • title (Z → A)

When searching across all data sources (catalogues, bibliographies, directories), your results can be books, articles, journals, websites, etc.

In the hit list, you see the bibliographic records of the resources that fulfil your search criteria. For each record, you have a short and a detailed version. The short version comprises the title, information about the author or editor, and data source (i.e. name of the catalogue).

If you choose Show details, you will see additional information, e.g. ISBN, URL, Country, publication language (Written in), Abstract or Keyword. The amount of the available information can vary across data sources and resource types.

Under the entries in the hit list, you can find different buttons that facilitate the access to the resource. What kind of access you have depends on the resource type and the data source. If alternative options exist, they will be shown simultaneously.

Functions of the buttons


Link to the full text or the website

The colour codes correspond to the established traffic light system (see below) of the Electronic Journals Library (Elektronische Zeitschriftenbibliothek, EZB).


The article is published in an open access journal; this is a link to the journal via the EZB; you can find the full text on the journal’s website.


The article is published in a subscription-based electronic journal that has been licensed by your institution; this is a link to the journal via the EZB; you can find the full text on the journal’s website.


The article is published in a subscription-based electronic journal; the full text is not accessible since your institution does not own a licence; the abstract may be freely availabe .


The status of the journal where the article is published could not be determined; this is a link to the journal’s record in the EZB that can provide additional information.


Link to the Zeitschriftendatenbank (ZDB); you can see here which German or Austrian libraries have holdings of the print journal.


Starts a Germany-wide search in the union catalogues. You will find out which libraries possess the book.


Starts an availability check in the Karlsruhe Virtual Catalog. You will find out in which library networks the book is available.


Link to subito, a fee-based document delivery service of German, Swiss, and Austrian libraries. You can order a copy of an article or a book chapter. Subito will deliver the copy directly to your home within 24 to 72 hours.

Please note that in order to use the full functionality you have to be in the IP range of your institution or to log in with your institutional account respectively.

Using filters to refine your results

After completing a simple or advanced search, you can refine your results further using filters. In the Refine your search area, you will find the available filter functions:

  • Keyword: Here you see the most frequent keywords in the set of hits. By selecting one of the keywords, you will limit the results to the ones containing the given keyword.
  • Creator/Publisher: Here you can see the names of the authors or editors most frequently found in the set of hits. By selecting a name, you will limit your results to the publication of the respective person.
  • Year: Here you see the years of publication sorted in descending order. In the brackets next to the year, you see the number of publications. By selecting a year, you will limit your results to the publications in that year.
  • Medium: You can filter the hits according to media type and limit your results only to online documents or print documents, for example (possible media types: Print, Online, Microfilm, CD-ROM/DVD, Audio-CD, Cartography, Miscellaneous).
  • Type: Here you see the number of hits sorted by resource type and you can filter accordingly (possible resource types: Article, Book, Journal, Series, Website, Miscellaneous).

Limiting the search to selected catalogues

The Catalogue search facilitates the simultaneous search in several data sources (Catalogues, Bibliographies, Linked Open Data catalogues, Online resources, Open access documents).

The default setting is a search across all integrated sources. You can, however, change the setting and limit your search to one or several catalogues. For this purpose, use the checkboxes in the list of the integrated data sources.

Next to each catalogue name, you see an information icon that links to a short description of the data source.

Journal directory

In the Journal directory, you can search for linguistically relevant journals and not for individual articles. In order to search for individual articles, please go to the website of the respective journal.

The search mask comprises six search fields. You decide how many search fields to use and how to combine them. You have to use at least one search field in order to start a query. The default setting is the option All fields.

Use the drop-down boxes to choose a category for the search fields:

  • All fields includes all categories.
  • Title refers to the title of the journal.
  • Subject refers to the main topics of the journal, e.g. Computational linguistics, Media linguistics.
    Tip: You can find the list of the possible subjects by selecting the facet Subject in the menu bar.
  • Language refers to the languages that are topic of the journal (object language), e.g. Austronesian languages, Japanese.
  • Keywords are more specific than the subjects are, e.g. language minority, language technology, German as a foreign language.
  • Written in refers to the publication language, i.e. the language, in which the majority of the journal articles are written; there are journals with more than one publication language.

Examples for possible queries

Example 1: If you enter "linguistics" in the search field with category Title, you will find all journals whose titles contain the word "linguistics".

Example 2: If you enter "Computational linguistics" in the search field with category Subject, you will find all journals with focus on computational linguistics.

Example 3: If you search for journals with focus on Arabic linguistics whose articles are written in German, you can use a combined query: Language "Arabic" AND Written in "German".

Display of the results and access to the full text

The query results are sorted alphabetically. Each hit is a journal’s bibliographic record.

The short version of the record contains the title, the homepage URL as well as information on the categories Subject, Language (object language) and Written in (publication language).

Select Show details if you want to see the detailed version of the record. It contains additional information such as Subject area, Keyword, Publisher. Via Elektronische Zeitschriftenbibliothek (EZB), you can find additional information such as details about the access to different volumes. Institutions with full text access shows which libraries have licensed the respective journal.

In the hit list, you see a traffic light symbol in front of each journal title. The traffic light system indicates your access to the full text of the journal articles:


Free access to full text


Full text accessible via your institution


Full text not accessible (usually tables of content and abstracts are accessible)


The access to the journal content varies depending on the volume. The full text is accessible for some volumes, but not for other.

If you use the search functions outside your university or institution, e.g. at home, make sure to log in with your user account into your library system. Only after logging in, the yellow traffic light can be shown. The yellow traffic light shows if your library has licensed the journal you need. This information can be processed only if you are within the IP range of a given institution.

Limit results to freely available sources is a special feature of the Journal directory. You can activate it through the checkbox under the search mask.

Browsing the Journal directory

You can browse by selected categories:

  • Title A-Z: This is an alphabetically sorted list of all journals contained in the directory.
  • Subject: e.g. Applied linguistics, Computational linguistics, Lexicography (40 subjects available)
  • Language: This category refers to language as topic of research (object language). The browsing is based on a hierarchically organised language classification. The top level contains established language families (e.g. Afro-Asiatic languages, Indo-European languages), groups based on geographical distribution (Australian languages, Papuan language), and isolated languages (e.g. Basque, Burushaski). Click on the plus sign to see the individual languages that belong to the respective group. Please note that the language classification includes only languages that are subject of at least one journal from the directory.
  • Subject area: e.g. African Studies, English Studies, German Studies, Oriental Studies (25 subject areas available)
  • Written in: The browsing is based on the list of the available publication languages.