How to get the most out of SOLO

SOLO is a search and discovery tool for resources found in the many libraries of the University of Oxford. Results come from a number of different sources, including OLIS (Oxford’s union catalogue of printed and electronic books and journals), ORA (Oxford University Research Archive) and a title link to the 1,000+ databases on OxLIP+.

This post will explore the more advanced features of SOLO; if you need help with the basics, please ask!

Advanced Search

The advanced search option of SOLO (to the right of the simple search button) allows you to combine more complex search terms. You can also restrict your search to certain indexes using the drop-down menus on the far left. For example, if you select “as author/creator” for the first line and use the term Butler and then for the second line choose “in the title”, entering Politics, your results would be limited to books by an author named Butler with the word politics in the title. This is more robust than SOLO’s simple search and allows you to control the results more precisely.

You can also narrow your search parameters by publication date, material type, language and location by choosing from the appropriate drop-down menus. Note, however, that refining options will also appear on the left-hand side of your search results.  If you prefer, you can impose these limitations after seeing the initial results of your search terms.

The search terms and results for an advanced search (click to enlarge)

Saving Results

Sometimes you may want to keep the results of a search to refer to later or export those results to another platform. SOLO has features to do just that.


To save items when viewing a list, click on the star to the left of the title.

An item has been starred for saving (click to enlarge)

When viewing an individual item, click on “send to” on the right-hand side.

Selecting "send to" to save or export an item (click to enlarge)

From the drop-down menu, you can select from a variety of options, including “add to e-shelf”.

Now click on e-shelf (top right) to see where this has been saved. If you are logged into SSO, these records are permanent; if you are not signed in you will have access to the guest e-shelf only as long as your browser is open.

Viewing the e-shelf, with saved items (click to enlarge)

Viewing the basket of your e-shelf, you can select one or more items and then email, print or “push” them to sites like Refworks or Delicious in a format they will understand. You can also choose all these options from the first “send to” drop-down menu when you’re viewing an individual item, but if you’re working with multiple records, it is best to save them all to the e-shelf and then manipulate them together there.


On the next tab over from the e-shelf is Queries, which automatically tracks previous SOLO searches. By clicking on any of them, you can repeat the search. To name and save a specific search, first execute a regular search in SOLO.

Save a search (click to enlarge)

On the very bottom left after any search, you will see the option to “save query”. You can choose to either save the search to the e-shelf (naming it for reusing later) or to “save and alert”, where an email is sent to you whenever a new item is added that matches your search criteria. You can also set up an RSS feed from this second tab. Both options are a great way to keep track of new library items relevant to your research.


The final tab of the e-shelf is My Account. Here you can set preferences for SOLO such as how many items per page you want to view and which default email address to send records to. If you are logged in, these settings will reappear whenever you log in again.

More advanced features may be added to SOLO in the future. Is so, we will update this post!

We have gathered some of the information for this post from the excellent SOLO LibGuide. We recommend having a look at it, as well as the many other useful LibGuides for Oxford.


About Nuffield College Library

We are a social sciences library serving Nuffield College and the University of Oxford
This entry was posted in How to..., Research and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to How to get the most out of SOLO

  1. VHL says:

    Very useful post! Will point our readers in this direction 🙂

  2. Lucile says:

    Great post, I might copy you soon for the library blog, thanks!

  3. Pingback: 2010 in review « Nuffield College Library's Blog

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