University Libraries Debuts New Search Tool Called inPrimo

Posted: November 1, 2012 at 4:53 pm, Last Updated: November 2, 2012 at 1:16 pm

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By Mark Schwartz, University Libraries

Discovering, locating and using scholarly research resources are now easier thanks to Mason University Libraries’ new digital search tool, inPrimo.

InPrimo is able to simultaneously search across the two million records in the libraries’ catalog, the thousands of items in the libraries’ local digital collections and the majority of the hundreds of millions of scholarly articles in the libraries’ subscription e-journals and databases. While improving research productivity, inPrimo increases the likelihood that new resources will be discovered along the way.

“InPrimo integrates several search tools and functions that were formerly separate silos on our website,,” says John Zenelis, university librarian. “Mason joins a prestigious company of research libraries such as Princeton, Emory, Northwestern, Oxford, Texas A&M, Iowa, Minnesota and the British Library in implementing this system of wider and deeper scholarly discovery.”

Victoria Martin, life sciences liaison librarian at Mercer Library on the Prince William Campus, says, “InPrimo is a valuable time-saving tool for busy researchers as well as for the librarians who work with them. Its advanced discovery capabilities allow users to find resources that are not only relevant to their research area but also appropriate to their level of expertise.”

What’s inPrimo? This new tool simultaneously searches:

  • Mason Libraries’ catalog of books, media, special collections and more
  • Research databases such as MEDLINE, ARTstor, ERIC and ScienceDirect
  • E-Journal collections such as JSTOR, Science Direct and ProjectMuse
  • Mason’s digital collections in the Mason Archival Repository Service (MARS) and the digital assets management LUNA system
  • Archival, legal and governmental collections such as U.S. government publications and Mason’s European Union document repository
  • Hundreds of millions of bibliographic records for books, journal articles, e-books and e-journals, news articles and much more, both owned/licensed or not owned by Mason

InPrimo offers facets (e.g., resource type, subject headings, publication dates) to aid in refining search results. InPrimo also directly links to available full text on your desktop or mobile device. In addition, the University Libraries is customizing inPrimo to work with the software Zotero (developed by Mason’s Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media) which helps researchers gather, organize and analyze materials and sources and then share their results.

“We’re really excited about bringing inPrimo to Mason,” says Wally Grotophorst, associate university librarian for digital programs and systems who oversaw implementation of the inPrimo project, assisted by a team of technical and academic unit liaison librarians.

“It enables us to jump a generation in search software capabilities and really opens up access to the world of scholarly e-content for our users — both for the freshman who’s just getting started as well as our most advanced researcher.”

As the new system is deployed, University Libraries’ staff will solicit, collect and evaluate feedback on preliminary experiences with inPrimo.

Write to Robin Herron at

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