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Primo Quick Start Guide


  • Primo Search is a search engine for most of CUW library’s materials on-campus and online.
  • Search Primo with a title, or keywords for your topic.
  • There are many filters and features to help you narrow your results. 
  • Login to Primo to manage checkouts, request items, for pickup from CUW or SWITCH. 
  • It’s easy to request digital scans of print journals a print book chapters in Primo. 

Primo Interface Features

Primo interface features

Searching Primo Demonstation (6 min)

Recommended: watch in full-screen by double clicking on video. 

Advanced Search In Primo (2 min)

Details of Primo

Primo™ includes scholarly, professional,  popular, and news sources.

  • You can search Primo™ with keywords or use the advanced search to  search Primo™ like a database. 
  • Primo™ search results favor two things: newer materials & words that match in the title.
  • Broad search terms = more  books and encyclopedias
  • Specific search terms = more articles and primary sources.
  • Primo™ contains your library account where you renew and request SWITCH items.

What does Primo™ Search?

Most CUW Databases  
CUW Library Catalog
SWITCH Libraries Catalog
Open Access Resources (Repositories & International Materials)

To Login:

1. Click the sign in link in the top menu bar.


2. Choose CUW Portal.

3. Enter your CUW Portal Login and Password.

  1. Sign in to Primo™. Some resources require sign-in to appear in search results, even on campus.
  2. Enter a few keywords in the search box and choose the correct scope from the drop down options.
  3.  Avoid using stop words: the, a, an, for, on, 
  4. Use Subject, Publication Date, and Resource Type Filters on the left side help decrease large numbers of search results.

The top menu bar links to additional tools. Primo top menu options


When to Use Primo™

  • You want to see if CUW Library has access to a particular item
  • You want a variety of source types
  • Your topic is interdisciplinary (more than one subject area) or you need multiple points-of-view

When to Use a Subject Specific Database

  • You need to run a very specific search (e.g. a peer-reviewed research article describing evidence based practice, written by a nurse).
  • You need subject-specific primary sources.

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