Skip to main content

E-books at Riley Library: Searching Ebook Central

A guide to ebook options available at NNU, written for both students and faculty

Simple Search

Navigate to Ebook Central:


To search, enter keywords, author or title in the simple search box on the Ebook Central homepage.

Advanced Search

  • Click on Advanced link next to Search button.


  • The default search parameter is Text and Key Fields. Use the drop-down menu to select the search fields that are best for your search.

To add or remove any search options, use the and  signs.

Browse by Subject

click All Subjects next to Advanced

Then select your subject area of interest:


At any time, you can search for words or phrases by entering them in the text box at the top of the page and clicking Search Ebook Central. If you want to search for an exact phrase, enclose it in quotation marks (for example “redwood forest”).

All documents that include the search term are displayed as search results according to relevance.

Refining a Search

To narrow your search, do any of the following:

  • Select one or more of the subjects listed in the Focus your search area above the search results. These topics are the most common subjects that apply to your current search request. Click Search Ebook Central.
  • In the Focus your search, you can choose to search for documents that contain any of the selected subjects or all of the selected subjects.
  • Click the + button and use the advanced search features to filter your results. Click Search Ebook Central.
  • Click an author, publisher, subject, or ISBN under any of the documents listed to narrow your search. For example, if you click the author, only documents that match your search criteria and are by that author are displayed. When you click any of these items, they are automatically added with a new line in the advanced search area. You can specify multiple ISBNs, separated by spaces.

You can also use Boolean or proximity search operators to refine your search.

Boolean Search

You can refine your search results using the Boolean operators AND, OR, and NOT. Boolean operators must be in capital letters. For example:

  • "oak trees" AND acorn — Returns documents containing both the phrase "oak trees" and the word "acorn."
  • oak AND NOT "oak trees" AND furniture — Returns documents containing information on oak furniture not oak trees.
  • oakwood OR "oak wood" — Returns documents that spell the term either as one word or two words.

You can use Boolean operators with simple search and advanced search.

Proximity Search

A proximity search uses the operator WITHIN to search for words that occur in the document within a certain distance from each other. You can specify up to how many words away the terms can be from each other. The WITHIN operator must be in capital letters. For example:

  • Edison WITHIN-30 inventor — Returns documents in which Edison and inventor are within 30 words of each other.
  • business WITHIN-1 strategies — Returns documents that have the words business and strategies next to each other.
  • (car WITHIN-10 electric) OR (car WITHIN-10 biodiesel) — Returns documents that have either the word electric or the word biodiesel within 10 words of the word car.

You can use proximity operators with simple search and advanced search.

Expanding a Search

To expand your search, remove any of your search criteria by clicking the minus button next to the entry, and then click Search Ebook Central. You can also remove one of the search terms you typed in.

Searching within Subject Areas

Searching within a subject area (All Subjects) is useful if you want a comprehensive listing of books within a subject. For example, you could narrow down as follows:

  • Science > Botany > Plant anatomy
  • Language and Literature > Philology, Linguistics > Semiotics

Note: You cannot use subject search in conjunction with word-based search.

To perform a subject search:

  1. Click All Subjects at the top of any page.
  2. In the Subjects list, select a subject.
  3. To narrow your search, select additional subjects within the subject.

You can now page through the documents in the subject. If you want to explore a document, do one of the following:

  • Click the title of the document.
  • Click Show Table of Contents, and click the title of a chapter.