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How to search: Sabinet Search Tips

This guide will show you how to search in the different Unisa Library resources to find relevant information for your research needs

Request a Literature Search

Need sources for your literature review? Struggling to find sources for your assignment, research proposal or thesis?

The Library can assist with a literature search, which is a systematic and comprehensive search for published, academic material on your specific subject/topic. How do you request one? Simply go to Request a literature search .

If you are experiencing problems accessing the form, please use this link

Sabinet Databases

The Sabinet database collections exlusively contains South African publications and articles.

Some of the databases include:

Emailing results

You can email your search results by ticking the box next to the results to select, and then clicking on the Email option in the selection box at the right-hand side of the screen.

A new page will open in a new tab where you will be able to add the email address that you would like to send these results to.

When you receive the emailed results you can click on the hyper-linked title to access the article.

Please sign in with your students number and myUnisa password to view the full article. 

Sabinet Search Tips

When searching the SA ePublications collection, it is important to remember that the entire full-text of the documents is searchable.


Keywords: this option allows you to find keywords mentioned in any part of a document, e.g. the full text of the document (if present) or the title of the document, etc.

o If for example you are looking for information on the SKA project currently underway in the Karoo region, you could search with the following terms: ska astronomy.

o Keyword searching will locate any type of information that is typed in the Keywords search box, e.g. journal title, author affiliation, etc.


Exact Phrase: This allows you to find words typed in that exact order in your results.

o Please note that the double inverted commas (" ") should be used for this purpose.

o Should you wish to search for two exact phrases, use the Advanced search

Exact word: This allows you to find the exact word that you are searching for.

o Please note that the double inverted commas (" ") should be used for this purpose.

o Should you wish to search for two exact phrases, use the Advanced search


Boolean searching: this option allows you to combine words and/or numbers.

o AND: This is the system default, meaning that in your search strings in the keywords fields you do not have to type the word out. For example if you are looking for environment AND tourism you can just type in the words environment tourism in the search field. The system will look for the documents which contain both these words.

o OR: If you type in or select the word OR, you will get results with either one of the search terms or numbers.

o NOT: This will exclude certain keywords or numbers totally from your search. For example labour relations NOT unions.

NOTE: when using OR / NOT, the OR or the NOT should be typed in UPPERCASE.

Proximity: use the ~ to search for words within a certain proximity of each other. If you type "mining water"~4, or "mining water" ~ 4, or "mining water" ~4 or "mining water"~ 4 in the title field, the results will show articles with titles where these words appear either directly next to one another, or with one, two, three or a maximum of 4 words in between.


 Truncation: Truncation of words is possible by making use of the * at the end of a word, to replace any number of characters, e.g. communicat*

NOTE: All functionality associated with Proximity searching, Truncation and Exact Word/Phrase searching is only available on specific databases (not on WorldCat, SACat, SANB or the FirstSearch databases).

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