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Primo Discovery Search: Discover Books, Journal Articles, and More   Tags: articles, books, databases, discovery, distance learning, library, open access, primo, research, scholarly, searching  

Try out our new discovery search tool!
Last Updated: Jul 24, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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What is Primo?

Primo Discovery is a new search tool that allows you to find and access information about a wide range of print and electronic resources all from a single search point. 

With Primo, you can search for items from the library catalog, our subscription databases, open access resources, and more, all from one interface.  

BCTC's Primo Discovery search box is featured on the main page of our library web site at

Other libraries in the KCTCS system also feature Primo search boxes on their library pages. Resources available in Primo will vary, depending on what resources are available in each of the KCTCS libraries.


A-Z List

A-Z List

Sometimes, you may want to see if BCTC has a specific e-book or  e-journal, and you can use the A-Z list feature of Primo Discovery to do that.

In the upper right hand corner of Primo Discovery, select "A-Z"

A to Z list

You will be taken to the A-Z SFX page.  To search for a specific e-journal, use the "Find e-Journal" tab. You can also browse by category if you like.


To search  to see if we have a  specific e-book, select the "Find e-Book" tab, instead:



Using the Help Feature

Do You Want to Become a Primo Discovery Super Searcher?

The Help section of Primo Discovery contains many useful tips and suggestions for refining your expertise as searcher!

Just click on the "Help" link in the upper right hand corner of the Primo Discovery search page to access the full range of help topics available to you.

You can find extensive information about searching, using the e-Shelf, and more.


Research Help

Research Help

Come to the BCTC Library if you would like additional research assistance. You can also contact us at :(859) 246-6380 or (859) 246- 6713, or use our Ask a Librarian form.

We will be happy to help you!


Primo Discovery

Primo Discovery is a new product available to libraries in KCTCS, and we are interested in your feedback. 

Please fill out the brief form, below, with your comments and experiences:

Primo Discovery - Tell Us What You Think


Primo Handout


Primo - Basic Searching

Basic Searching

Search for library resources using  Primo Discovery!  Just type one or more words you are looking for into the Primo Discovery search box 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: "global warming")

If you like to use the Boolean operators OR or NOT, you must enter them in uppercase letters when using Primo for them to work as operators.

Once you have your initial search results, you can fine-tune them even more by using facets.


Using Facets

Using Facets

What if you have already done a search in Primo Discovery but you want to fine-tune your search a little more (by item type, etc.), without having to do a new search? You can click on any of the links on the left in the Primo Discovery search results list (these are 'facets") to limit your search. There often are a few facets near top of your search results that you can use, also.

See below for a sampling of some of the facets available to you. You can limit  results to peer-reviewed journals, for example, by clicking on the facet link labeled "Peer-reviewed Journals." You can also limit by resource type, library location, only full text online, etc.  Facets are dynamically generated from the top relevant results. The number for each value is taken from the full set of search results.


Results in Primo

Results in Primo

After you do a search in Primo Discovery, you wll notice your search results list has items with various links below them: "View Online," "Location," etc. To see if an e-book or e-journal article is available online via a database, click the "View Online" link and then, if needed, click the "open source in new window" link that appears.  Use the "More" link to get additional information and linkages.Use the location link to see where we may have the book or e-book.


Advanced Search

Advanced Search

The "Advanced Search" option may be useful at times. Click on "Advanced Search from the main Primo search screen if you want to try out Advanced Search:

Primo Advanced Search

Advanced Search gives you number of useful options, including searching using a subject term, specifying a publication date  or selecting a material type (book, article, etc.)

Advanced Search


Browse Feature

Browse Feature

Primo also allows for a kind of browsing similar to what one would experience browsing an actual bookshelf. Since resources on a bookshelf are purposefully grouped together by subject, author, or another classification system, this is useful way to find additional relevant materials for your research.

To browse in Primo, find the Browse Search feature on the main Primo page:

Primo browse selection

Select how you would like to browse (by subject, author, or title) and then type your search word. Then, click the orange browse button.

Primo Browse Feature

Discovery Browse by subject

Virtual Browse

A related  feature of Primo is the "Virtual Browse" tab,  which often appears as an option if a  Primo search resutl list includes books.. The Virtual Browse tab recreates the visual experience of browsing a bookshelf, including use of available bookcover images:

virtual browse

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Maureen Cropper
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Electronic Resources Librarian /
BCTC - Leestown Campus
Lexington, KY 40511
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Primo e-Shelf

Primo e-Shelf

The e-Shelf is a location where you can store items and  your search queries. From your e-Shelf, you can view saved items, as well as print, email, and export the records.

Although you can save items  temporarily to your e-Shelf  as a "guest" without logging in, it is advisable to go into your free e-shelf account if you want to save items on your e-shelf to be available to you beyond your current search session. (use your Peoplesoft login information to log into your free e-Shelf account)

You can save items to the e-Shelf by checking off the star at the left of the title:

Check to see what books are currently on your e-Shelf by  clicking on the e-Shelf link at the upper right corner of the Primo home page


Does Primo Discovery contain everything the library has?

In a word, "No." Primo Discovery is a helpful tool that combines searching the library catalog with searching many of the library's databases as well as other sources, but not everything is included, as some things are not indexed by the Primo Central index.  However, the vast majority of our items are discoverable via Primo Discovery Search, and it provides a convenient starting point for finding research materials.


Does Primo Discovery sometimes show results of items the BCTC library does not have?

In a word, "Yes."  There sometimes will be results that you find in Primo Discovery that our local BCTC library does not have. If you find an item you want but the BCTC library does not have it locally, you may be able to obtain it by using our BCTC Interlibrary Loan Service at:

Is Primo Discovery the only way to access library resources?

Do you know the database you need, and don't want to search everything? You are welcome to use any of the database direct links on our library website, or search for a database by name:


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