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Michigan State University

SearchPlus Help: FAQ


Q:  What is SearchPlus?

A:  SearchPlus is the MSU Libraires new discovery tool that allows you to search many of the libraries' collections for books, articles, conference proceedings, theses and dissertations, videos, music, images, manuscripts, standards, maps, and more. 

Q:  What's in SearchPlus?

A:  Most of the Libraries' collections. For more information on what's available, click here

Q: Why do I get the results I do in SearchPlus? 

A:  SearchPlus, much like Google, uses a proprietary relevance-ranking algorithm, that sorts and displays search results using multiple criteria. Several of these methods will cause results that don't seem to exactly match your search terms to appear in the list of results.

SearchPlus uses several criteria in its relevance ranking. The frequency your search terms appear in both the bibliographic metadata for the item (and when available, within the full text, though these appearances are ranked less), the field in which your search terms appear (titles are ranked higher than publisher name), and the frequency that similar terms appear using stemming techniques all contribute to the relevance ranking.

Other criteria that affect ranking include the content type (as identified by the content provider), publication date, whether the item is listed as scholarly/peer-reviewed, whether the item is part of our local collections, and the citation count as recorded by Web of Science.

You can refine a search that seems to include irrelevant results by including more search terms or more specific search terms, or by using the facets to limit results.

Q:  How do I tell if a specific journal (or other periodical) is in SearchPlus?

A:  Go to the Search Plus advanced search page, enter the periodical name in a search box and change the dropdown menu to "Publication Title," and click "Search."

Q:  Can I exclude any types of sourcs from my results list in SearchPlus?

A:  Yes, you can exclude newspaper articles, book reviews and dissertations/theses from your search in SearchPlus. To do this, just go to the Search Plus advanced search page and click the box next to the type of source you'd like to exclude from your search.

Michigan State University