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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

How to Find Data : Easy Search

Data in Easy Search

Along with the library's catalog, the Easy Search box at the top of the library's home page can also be a good place to search for data. One benefit of Easy Search is that it allows you to search through multiple sources -- you can look for books, articles, journals, and much more all at once! One downside of this is that you may end up with too many results. However, there are a variety of ways you can limit your search.

One way is to use the tabs along the top of the search box to limit your search. You can search for "everything," or books, articles, journals, or media. You can also choose what type of items your search will give you. The dropdown menu to the right of the search box will give you a variety of subjects to choose from, including datasets. You may also choose to utilize the Advanced Search option. Clicking that link will bring you to another search page that will allow you to add not only general keywords, but also title keywords and author information. Finally, we recommend that you click the "What am I searching?" link beneath the search box to see a full list of all the resources that Easy Search looks through when you perform a search.


Shows Easy Search bar. Arrows point to the different tabs, the "What am I searching" button, the item type limiter, and the advanced search button.


What am I searching?

Curious about what Easy Search actually searches through? Underneath the search box, click the "What Am I Searching?" button. This will bring you to a list of all the resources that will be searched when you enter a term in Easy Search. At the bottom of the list you will find the Dataset repositories and indexes that will be searched for your keyword(s):

List of datasets searched by Easy Search.

Advanced Search

The Easy Search box also has an Advanced Search option (you will find it to the right of the search box). On the Advanced Search page you can enter multiple keywords. Click the "More options" link to add a title search box and an author search box. You can also limit your search to different resource types. Datasets is the bottom option on the left.

You can also use Boolean operators here.

To find an exact phrase, use double quotes ("identity theft") around your keywords.

To find variations on your search term, truncate your search terms with an asterisk. For example: measur* will bring up results including the words measure, measuring, measurement (as well as other variations).


Here is an example of what your search results will look like using Easy Search.

At the top of the page is your search box, which displays the search term you used. The dropdown menu to the left of the box can be used to refine your search. Its default setting will be "keywords," but you can choose "title" or "author."

Directly beneath the search box is an overview of your search results. Below your search results you can choose to do a new search or modify your current search. Clicking on the blue links (for example, the link that says "1 DATASET MATCHES" will allow you to explore the results.