Answered By: Mugar Library
Last Updated: Jan 12, 2017     Views: 66

Each item in a search results list provides a variety of information about that particular resource. Exactly what information is provided for an item depends upon the nature of the resource (particularly whether it is online or physical) and the source of the information (see What Is in BU Libraries Search? for more about the different sources).

Basic information provided includes:

  • Type. This icon at the left of a search result labels the item as a book, article, journal, video, score, etc. (For some, but not all, books a thumbnail image of the book cover will be shown.)
  • Title. The title links to more information about the items and features, including links for access to online items.
  • Author(s). The next line is usually information about the author(s) and/or publisher of the item.
  • Publication Information (Citation). For articles, the publication information (or citation) tells what journal the article was published in as well as information such as the year, volume, and page numbers.  Books and other items may have publication information pertaining to publishing houses, years of publication, and places of publication.
  • Location and Availability
    • Physical items include a location, a call number, and availability. The call number is a combination of letters and numbers that tells where on the shelves the item can be found. The BU Libraries use the Library of Congress Classification (with a few exceptions) to assign call numbers. The availability information tells whether the item is currently available or checked out and in which library it can be found. Multiple copies of a single item might be found in several libraries on campus.  For physical items, click the “Find in Library” link to see all locations and call numbers.
    • Online items will generally say "Online Access." If online access is unavailable, click on the link to see Find in Library for print or request options.

Other information about an item can include:

  • More Information. Click the item title to open a box displaying additional information about the item. Depending upon the item, this information can include title, author, publisher, description, table of contents, publication date, or language, among other things.  Sometimes, this box will display links to subject terms that lead to similar items when clicked.
  • Recommendations. Some items may have a Recommendations link. If present, this link will display other items that were accessed by patrons who selected the item; such items often cover similar topics.
  • Sources. When the same item is available through more than one source, "multiple sources exist" will display. Click "see all" for access options.
  • Versions. When the library provides more than one version of a title, the Versions link is displayed. Clicking on the link will display individual listings for each version of the item. Different versions may be different editions of an item or different formats (e.g., ebook vs. print book).
  • Altmetrics BadgesSome search results will display Altmetrics badges that look like this:

    These badges indicate the amount of internet sources citing the item in the corresponding search result.  Learn more at the Altmetrics Frequently Asked Questions page.

Get Help

Need more help? Ask us!



Email Get answers within 24 hours. (

 Phone: Call 617-353-2700 or look through our reference contacts.

 In person: Visit our library locations.

 Make a research appointment.

 Text a librarian: 617-431-2427

Direct Message us on Twitter.