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Research Help: Primo: Search (almost) Everything

Get help planning your research, using research tools, finding resources, citing and evaluating sources, and more.

About Primo

Primo is a powerful tool that searches the library's catalog of print and online books, videos, our article databases, scholarly content freely available on the web, and the e-books from ConnectNY. The strength of Primo is that it allows users to do a quick keyword search across many of our resources at the same time, providing a comprehensive view of all types of information in many different formats (books, journal articles, etc) available on a topic.

Primo is a good place to start researching; however, navigating results pages can be somewhat complex. 

Basic Search
With the Primo tab selected, start typing in your keywords. Use keywords that best describe your topic. Use search limiters such as putting "quotes around phrases" to search for exact strings of words or phrases. Try synonyms or official terms for your keywords as well. Then let Summon help you to narrow the results by using the limiters in the left side column.

  • When the results screen comes, users will see two columns. The right column shows the resources available for that search. The results are ordered by relevance. They can also be sorted by date, author or title by clicking on the drop down menu in the left column under "Tweak your results." 


  • The results can be filtered using the column on the left ("Tweak your results"). Users can filter by resource type, location, subject, creation date, language, author/creator, etc.

Primo searches so much information that you will often get way too many results. Using the advanced search and the limiting features of Summon, called facets, help you be more specific and focus your results.


Using the Advanced Search  lets you be more specific with your search.  For example, you can tell Primo to look for the author "Sally Smith", by using quotes around the phrase you will just search for records with the exact phrase of "Sally Smith," not for all records that contain the words Sally and Smith.  Also, by changing the drop-down menu to author instead of all fields you can focus your search on materials by "Sally Smith" rather than about "Sally Smith".