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OneSearch: where to begin

The library's main discovery tool searches across most databases, print, and electronic collections from one place. OneSearch is also where to go to manage your library account.

OneSearch at York College Library

Use OneSearch if you want to:

  1. Begin your research.
  2. Look for a combination of books, journal articles, and/or e-books, on a specific topic.
  3. Find a specific title of an article or a book, or a specific author.
  4. Match a citation to an article.
  5. Manage your library account.

Signing into OneSearch

Going forward you will now use your CUNY Login to access library resources remotely.  The first thing you should do when beginning with OneSearch is to Sign in with your CUNY Login as this will (A) enable added added features, (B) improve search results, and (C) ensure seamless access to electronic resources.

Click on the Sign in button in the top right corner and sign in with your CUNY Login (the same username/password you use for Blackboard and CUNYfirst). 


NOTE: validated barcodes are no longer necessary to access resources remotely, just use your CUNY Login If you've forgotten your CUNY Login, find your username here, or reset your password here.

My Library Card

When you have signed into OneSearch using your CUNY Login, you will have access to your library account, referred to as My Library Card.  You will know that you have signed in successfully when your name appears instead of the Sign in box - click on your name.  Here you can:

  1. View any items you have checked out, and renew these items.
  2. View any fines/fees.
  3. Read messages about your items and account, for example, the status of a request you have made for a book from another CUNY library.
  4. Save records of favorite items (HINT: you can always extract a citation for a favorited book or article from it's OneSearch record).
  5. Save searches, and access your search history (NOTE: this search history only accumulates if you are signed into OneSearch).

NOTE: Your OneSearch/My Library Card account is not the same as your Interlibrary Loan (ILL) account and does not include your Interlibrary Loan items. Visit the ILLiad Login page to access or activate your ILL account.

Simple search tips

1. "Phrase search" - for more precise results use quotation marks around two or more words that are intended to be searched as a unit. This is especially useful for common phrases, names, common titles, and quotations. 

Examples include: 

  • "special education"
  • "Malcolm X"
  • "The old man and the sea"
  • "Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country."


2. Connect concepts by using Boolean Operators (AND, OR, NOT) when constructing your search.  Always capitalize operators in OneSearch.  In order for operators to work, they must be in all caps or they will behave like a regular search term.

AND: when combining keywords with AND search results must contain both concepts, thus narrowing your search and returning fewer results.

  • bee AND honey
  • "the old man and the sea" AND Hemingway
  • "Malcolm X" AND "civil rights"

OR: Include synonyms or similar words, then search results will contain either version of the same concept.  Using OR broadens the search and produces more results:

  • doctor OR physician OR md
  • 1960s OR sixties OR 60s
  • teenager OR adolescent
  • "climate change" OR "global warming"

NOT: Use NOT to exclude certain terms from your search (this is especially helpful for homonyms):

  • depression NOT economic
  • violence NOT guns
  • apple NOT computer
  • Saturn NOT car

The search for 'depression NOT economic', is a simple search for the concept of a psychological condition.  When 'NOT economic' is added, the search results will exclude articles focused on a financial condition.

Working with OneSearch results

'Filter my results' - filters appear on the right side of a results page for both basic and advanced searches in OneSearch.   


These filters are extremely helpful and highly recommended.  Some of the most commonly used filters include:

  • "Peer-reviewed Journals" - select this filter and you will only see results associated with peer-reviewed journals.
  • "Topic/Subject" - Click on the "Topic/Subject" filter and select one from the list that interests you and only items on that subject will be displayed.
  • "Resource type" - If you already know what type of resource you're looking for, limit here by choosing books, journals, dissertations, reference articles, etc. and the results will only include that type of resource.
  • "Date" - Another helpful filter is to limit search results by date range of publication thus ensuring you are only seeing current works on the topic.

You can use multiple filters together and anything you select will be listed under 'Active filters': 

If you need to change or add keywords in the search bar, these filters will disappear as soon as you hit 'search' again unless you decide to 'lock' the filters in place by selecting "Remember all filters":

                A)                                   B)    

Once you do this, all new searches will retain the filters you have chosen until you close the browser. You can always 'unlock' if you decide you don't want the filters to remain in place.  


Extract citations - records in OneSearch always provide formatted APA, Chicago/Turabian, MLA, and Harvard citations that you can copy/paste into a bibliography.    NOTE: these citations are automatically formatted and need to be checked for accuracy. 

Share research - You can easily email records in OneSearch.  These emails will contain identifying information about the item and a link back to the record.  This is especially useful if you need to share a resource within a study group or check one with a professor.

Advanced search

Use the Advanced Search feature to have greater control.  First, the two radio buttons at the top determine if you are searching 'Everything' at York College Library or if you want to search all CUNY libraries.

Next, limit your keyword search to specific fields, like title or author, and you can restrict your search from the beginning by material type, language, or range of publication dates.  Notice, Boolean Operators (AND, OR, NOT) are built in.

Select a field by clicking on the drop down menu to choose where OneSearch will search for your keywords in an item record.  Options include:

  • ISBN
  • Any field
  • TItle
  • Author/Creator
  • Subject (main topic of a work)
  • ISSN
  • User tags

Search by material type by selecting the drop down menu on the right side of the search box.  Here you can limit your search to a specific material type.  Options include:

  • All items
  • Journals
  • Books
  • Articles
  • Images
  • Sound recordings
  • Video/film
  • Dissertations

Video tutorials

OneSearch overview from CUNY's Office of Library Services (OLS): video tutorial.

How to use OneSearch, Basic Search: video tutorial.

How to use OneSearch, Advanced Search: video tutorial.

Hot to use OneSearch, Citation tools: video tutorial.

Interlibrary Loan (ILLiad)

Interlibrary Loan (ILLiad) is a service through which York students, faculty, and staff may obtain library materials that are not owned or subscribed to by the York College Library or are not available from any other CUNY library.