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Searching Orbis and Quicksearch: Home

Tips for best uses of Orbis and Quicksearch.


Search Orbis

(Use with Keyword and Title searches only)

Search Quicksearch


Q: I'm starting a research project. Where should I start looking for resources?
A: Try searching Quicksearch first for a broader selection of resources. You can also set up a research consultation with a librarian!

Q: I need to find articles on a particular topic. Where should I start looking?
A: Search in the Articles+ feature in Quicksearch to browse articles. 

Q: Where can I find databases?
A: Follow the Databases link in Quicksearch to search and browse databases available through Yale. 

Q: I'm looking for a specific book. Where can I find it?
A: Search Orbis. Use the Advanced Search option to refine your query. Select "Books" from the drop down menu in the "Type" field. 
Search Quicksearch. Use the Books+ Advanced Search option to refine your query. Select "Books" under the drop down menu in the "Format" field.

Q: I'm currently in a Yale Library and I'd like to browse the books in the stacks that are related to a particular subject. How do I find them?
A: Search Orbis. In the Advanced Search feature, select the library you're in from the drop-down menu in the "Location" field. Check the call number of relevant records. You can also consult the library staff members at any library service desk for assistance.
*Much of the Yale Library collections is housed offsite. You will need to request books to be delivered that are housed offsite (i.e. at LSF, the Library Shelving Facility). To access special collections materials, consult the Guide to Using Special Collections at the Yale University Library.

Q: Is there a way to browse library materials about a certain subject online?
A: Yes. In Orbis, set your search to "Subject Browse" from the drop-down menu. In Quicksearch's Books+ feature, set your search to "Subject." You can also click on the linked subjects listed at the bottom of any record in Orbis or Quicksearch. 

What's the difference between Orbis and Quicksearch?

Orbis and Quicksearch are two ways to search for resources provided by Yale. Though they may overlap in their coverage, they work most effectively depending on the types of resources you're seeking and the nature of your inquiries. 

Orbis is Yale Library's catalog. It contains bibliographic records of library materials provided by Yale, including (but not limited to):

  • Books 
  • Journals and Serials
  • eBooks
  • Music
  • Videorecordings
  • Archival/manuscript collections

The Advanced Search feature provides the option to customize your queries. You can limit your searches by year, location, format, language, and more.  

*Orbis is not particularly useful, however, for finding articles within a journal, specific items within an archival collection, or for databases.

Quicksearch is a discovery tool that searches Orbis, as well as many other resources and collections not searchable through Orbis. In addition to the resources you can find through Orbis, Quicksearch also includes:

  • Databases 
  • Individual articles 
  • Digital collections

When should I use Orbis and when should I use Quicksearch?

Here are some helpful tips for knowing when to use Orbis and when to use Quicksearch.

Orbis is a traditional library catalog that's useful for:

  • Finding books, journals/serials, and many other types of materials
  • Locating a specific copy or edition of a book
  • Identifying call numbers in order to physically browse a section in a library's stacks
  • Browsing subject headings electronically (linked subject headings are located at the end of an Orbis record)


The Basic Search feature in Quicksearch acts like a "Google search" for Yale resources, and is useful for very broad keyword searches. This feature is most useful for:

  • Broadly exploring resources available for a certain topic/subject
  • Surveying literature at the beginning of a new research project
  • Searches that are not format-specific

With the most recent upgrade, many of Orbis' features are now also available in Quicksearch. Some of these features include browsing subject headings and Advanced Search. These features are available in Quicksearch's Books+ search. 

Quicksearch provides access to some resources not included in Orbis. Some unique search options in Quicksearch include:

  • Databases: Browse or search databases
  • Articles+: Conduct basic searches for journal/serial articles
  • Digital Collections: Conduct basic searches for a selection of digital collections

Other Search Options

In some cases, it may be useful to search in locations other than Orbis or Quicksearch. The following list includes other options for finding Yale Library resources.