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Primo Help

Primo menu

Shows the location of the menu options at the top of the Primo interface with a red square box.

Primo Menu

There are several helpful tools in the green menu at the top of the Primo page. This box will walk you through each one, what they do, and how you can use them to access additional library options and materials.

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New Search

This option clears your current search, including any filters, so you can start over. It also redirects you to the New Search Page, which contains search tips and information about getting help.

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E-Journals A-Z

This option is a complete, searchable list of our electronic journals. You can browse journals alphabetically or search for a specific title. This tool is very useful if you have an article citation and need to find the full text.

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Citation Linker

This tool allows you to find a known citation by filling in the citation information. It has tabs to search for Journals, Articles, and Books. Use the "Article" tab if you are looking for a particular article. NOTE: You do not need to enter information into every field in the search--enter as much as you have and make sure to include a Journal Title or ISSN.

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This option allows you to view all of the database resources at CSU. Each database is a collection of resources such as articles, articles in a given discipline, videos, e-books, and more. For larger research projects, you'll want to use some of our databases in addition to using Primo--you can use the "Subject" tab in the database list to find the best databases for your discipline (or check with your subject librarian:

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This link directs you to the Primo Help page. This page includes information on how to use Primo, how to manage your accounts, and how to get help if you need it. Please feel free to contact us with any questions!

How do I limit my search results?

This image shows the location of the filters in Primo; they are on the left-hand side of the main search interface.

Using Limits

This box will walk you through the different options you have to limit your search. All of these options can be found on the left-hand side of the Primo search interface. Scroll through to see how you can make your search more precise.


Expand My Results

By default, Primo only searches items owned by CSU Libraries. If you have trouble finding enough relevant results, or need to do a comprehensive search, check this box to include items in your search that you can get through InterLibrary Loan.


Sort By

This limit will give you the option to choose how your results are organized by selecting which results are displayed first. The options are:

  • Relevance - The results Primo thinks are most relevant are displayed first (based on its relevance algorithm).
  • Date-newest - The most recent items are displayed first.
  • Date-oldest - The least recent items are displayed first.
  • Author - The results are organized alphabetically by the author's name.
  • Title - The results are organized alphabetically by the title of the document.


Show Only

Click on a category under this option to show only those resources. Some useful options are:

  • Peer-reviewed Journals - This is the only way to limit to scholarly articles in Primo.
  • Available in Morgan Library - Available books and e-books available in Morgan.

To exclude a “Show Only” category, hover over the option and click on the red slashed checkmark that appears. A “Show Only” option will not appear if there are no corresponding items in your results.

Any category you include/exclude will appear under “Active Filters” at the top of the Tweak My Results area. Categories included will be in black letters, while categories excluded will be in red letters with a line through them. Remove any category included or excluded by clicking on the X in the appropriate bubble.



Specify a publication date range for your search results by using the scrolling arrows next to the dates or clicking in the date boxes to type in different years.

NOTE: The dates listed do not necessarily represent options present in your search results. In other words, there may not actually be a document from 500 AD in the example above. This limit works best to specify which range you want, i.e. the last ten years.


Resource Type

Use this filter to identify material types you want. Some useful options include:

  • Books/eBooks
  • Articles
  • Newspaper Articles
  • Audio Visual
  • Reference Entries

To exclude a “Resource Type” category, hover over the option and click on the red slashed checkmark that appears. A “Resource Type” option will not appear if there are no corresponding items in your results.



This allows you to choose a topic for your search. The topic area is a great place to look for additional words/phrases that you can use in your searches.

NOTE: These topics are drawn from several different databases, and are not standardized, so you may limit your results to one particular source (ex. a medical database) if you select certain topics.

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This option allows you to select results by a particular author/creator. Keep in mind that this may include corporate/organizational authors, rather than just specific individuals.

Shows multiple filter options:

Library, Location, & Collection

These are all options to limit by the location or source of an item:

  • Library - Allows you to choose/exclude different libraries in the CSU system (Morgan Library, Pueblo Library, Vet Library, etc.)
  • Location - Allows you to choose/exclude different library locations. This feature is useful if you are looking for an item shelved in a particular area (ex. bound journals, government documents, reference).
  • Collection - Allows you to limit your results by particular publishers, databases, and source types. This limit is useful if you know you want materials from a particular source or database (ex. ERIC).

Shows multiple filter options:

Language, Journal Title, & Classification LCC

These last options can help you specify special options for limiting your search:

  • Language - Allows you to specify which language your material is written in. The language options displayed will only be the languages found in your search results.
  • Journal Title - Allows you to limit results to articles from a particular journal.
  • Classification LCC - This option, which works best for books, allows you to choose a call number range for your materials. For example, if you only wanted books from the discipline of agriculture, you could choose "S - Agriculture" to only see books from the S section of the library. This options is great if you only want books relating to your major, for example.

How do I use the advanced search box?

Primo Advanced Search Box

Primo Advanced Search

Use the Advanced Search to limit your keyword search to specific fields, like title or author, and to narrow your search from the start by material type, language, and publication years.

Simplify your search options at any time by clicking on Simple Search on the right-hand side.

Select field option in Primo advanced search box

Select a Field

Click on the "Any field" drop-down menu to choose where Primo searches for your keywords in an item record. Options include: TitleAuthor/creatorSubject (a main topic of the work); Call number (LCC); ISBNISSN (used for journals, newspapers, etc.); and OCLC number (used for item record in WorldCat).

Field contains/is/starts option

Field contains/is (exact)/starts with Option

Click on the "contains" drop-down menu to choose how your keywords are searched in the field selected. Options include:

  • contains - contains the keyword(s) provided in any order.
  • is (exact) - contains the keyword(s) provided in exact order.
  • starts with - starts with the keyword(s) provided. NOTE: limited to title searching only.

Material Type option in Advanced Search

Select Material Type

Click on "All items" in the drop-down menu to limit your search to a specific material type. Options include: books, articles, journals, images, and audio visual.

NOTE: This is an incomplete list. For more options, perform your search first and then use the Resource Type facet in the Tweak My Results area on the left of the results page.

Language option in Advanced Search

Select a Language

Click on the "Language" drop-down menu to choose the language in which your search results are written. Options are limited to: English, French, and German.

NOTE: This is an incomplete list. For more options, perform your search first and then use the Language facet in the Tweak My Results area on the left of the results page.

Select publication years option in Advanced Search

Select Publication Years

Click on the "Any year" drop-down menu to limit your search by publication years. Options include: specific date (select start and end day, month, and year), last year, last 2 years, last 5 years, last 10 years, and last 20 years.

How do I find a specific journal?

To browse for a journal in Primo, click on "E-Journals A-Z" in the green menu at the top.

You will see a complete list of the electronic journals CSU Libraries has access to, in alphabetical order. To browse by title, use the letters underneath the search box.

arrow pointing to E-journals A to Z menu option. Search box showing below.

You can also search by your journal title using the search box above the alphabetic list.

Sample search for "child development" in E-journals A to Z

Click on the journal title you're looking for to see complete electronic access options.

Electronic full text options for the e-journal titled Child Development

In the example above, there are several different access options. Make sure you select one that matches the years you want to look for or browse. For example, JSTOR does not have coverage from the last six years. Often, you can find another resource (ex. Wiley Online Library) that covers recent years. If you are unable to get access to the content you want, you can use the "CSU - Fort Collins Interlibrary Loan" link at the bottom to ask us to get the article from another library.

If you have questions, please feel free to contact us.

CC License

Creative Commons License Original content in this Colorado State University Primo Help Guide is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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