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Library Catalog Overview

Primo is the Law Library's discovery platform for finding books, articles and other resources not just in our collection but also in academic libraries, including law libraries, from across the Washington, DC region. This consortium of libraries (the Washington Research Library Consortium or WRLC) from 9 area universities and colleges also includes Catholic University's Mullen Library, Georgetown University, George Washington University, American University, George Mason University, Howard University, Gallaudet University, Marymount University, and the University of the District of Columbia.

Search Tips

Basic Primo Searching

Just type one or more keywords describing the resource(s) you are looking for into the Primo search box (see figure 1 below) and then click the search button. Primo will begin a search for all the words you typed.  

To search for a specific phrase, type quotation marks around the phrase (example: "false claims").

You can also use the Boolean operators AND, OR or NOT for a more focused search, however you must enter them in uppercase letters (example: jurisdiction OR venue). 

Additionally, wildcards can be employed to replace a character or find multiple variations of a specified root word:

  • Use ? for a single character, e.g. wom?n to search for woman or women. 
  • Use * for multiple characters, e.g. liab* would find liable or liability . 

More sophisticated searches can also utilize parenthesis to group concepts within a single search string.  An example of this is: trials AND (civil OR criminal).

For more precise searching, Primo offers users an advanced search mode which can be accessed to the right of the main search box (see Figure 1).

Figure 1



Advanced Primo Searching

There are many options to explore in the drop-down options of Advanced Search.  The first option is to select a Search Profile, in other words, define the world of information being searched.  The available Search Profiles are:

  • Law Library and Articles - This searches the materials held in the Catholic Law Library collection and the articles in the online databases subscribed to by the Law Library.
  • Articles and More - This searches for articles and other resources contained in the databases subscribed to by the Catholic Law Library.
  • Law Library and Local Academic Libraries - This searches across the catalogs of Catholic University's Law Library and Mullen Library in addition to searching the catalogs of a number of other academic libraries in the region.
  • Course Reserves - This profile restricts the search to materials placed on reserve at the Catholic Law Library.

Please note that the default search profile is Law Library and Articles.

Any time your search profile include articles you can also select the "Expand My Results" feature at the top of the left hand panel.  This will then search beyond our subscriptions to include articles that, while we may not have full text access to, can be requested through inter-library loan.  In addition, you can also select "Search In Full Text" which will then include resources where those search terms appear in the first few pages of the article.

Once you have selected a search profile you can then use various fields and filters to craft a search within this profile. For example, Figure 2 shows an advanced search for recent resources on the second amendment, where the drop-down menu "subject" has been selected, and the date of publication has been restricted to after 2015:

Figure 2


Refining Search Results

Using the facets on the left hand panel of the search results screen you can refine your results.  Examples of the various facets include whether the item is available online, whether it is a book or an article, the publication date, the name of the author, and where it is located (see Figure 3 below).  Through using a combination of facets, users can curate a search result list that is more focused and relevant.

Figure 3


Item Details

Once you retrieve the record for a particular item in your search results you can find out more detailed information about the item (e.g. titles of book chapters), link to the item, and even upload bibliographic information into Endnote and Refworks, two citation managers available to you through the University. In addition, it is recommended that you sign into your library account in Primo using your Catholic University network credentials.  This will allow you to save records to your personal account using the pushpin icon in the top right of the screen (see Figure 4).

Figure 4


Looking For More Information?

If you have additional questions concerning the use of Primo, or if you encounter any problems, please feel free to contact the Law Library staff using the contact information on the left.  In addition, you can submit feedback to us directly on the Primo basic search page.  

Additional documentation related to using Primo as an end user can be located in the link below, however please note that this information is not tailored to the Catholic Law Library's site, and therefore the look and feel of the site depicted may differ from your experience.