Skip to Main Content

BruKnow: The Brown Library Catalog

This guide will give you an introduction to BruKnow and answer some common questions about the system.


Welcome to the Brown Library guide to BruKnow, our library catalog. We hope to answer your questions here and give you an introduction to the system. If any of your questions aren't answered on this guide, please search the FAQ below.

One thing to keep in mind:

When you enter a search, you are likely to see a moving diamonds pattern which tells you it's working. If this pattern continues without any sign of stopping, it's likely you've gotten caught in a loop. The simplest way to stop this is to clear your browser/cookies cache.

Beginning Your Search

You can begin your search by using the box on the library home page. Here you have the option of doing a general search of most resources or using the buttons beneath the box to limit to Books and Ebooks, Ebooks only, Articles only, or Journals by title.


BruKnow Search Box on Library Homepage

Basic Search Options

When you leave the library homepage and move to the catalog itself, you'll find that, as you begin to type into the BruKnow search box, you'll be offered the following search options:

  • Everything
  • Library Catalog
  • Articles
  • Brown Digital Repository

You can also click the magnifying glass to bring up a dropdown list of search scope options or use the Advanced Search button for even more options.

What do these terms mean?

Everything: searches the library catalog, journals, articles, open access materials, images, archival materials, cataloged databases,  citations collected from scholarly e-resources, and resource guides (including guides like this).   You'll also find 'Best Bets' for often searched for items, including popular library web site pages. Note: Currently, the "Everything" search does NOT include the BDR.

Library Catalog: searches only the physical and electronic holdings in our catalog, including journal titles, DVDs, sound recordings, dissertations, musical scores, and more.

Articles: searches journal, magazine, and newspaper articles, book chapters, and more.

Brown Digital Repository: searches digitized materials in the BDR, including library collections, faculty and student work, dissertations and theses, and more.

                Tet Box: BruKnow Main Search Options

Basic Search: Results

After entering your search terms, you'll be given a page of results. In this case, "search everything" was chosen and the results are a mixture of different types of material. You can quickly filter this search for more specific results by using the limiters under "Refine your results." In order to be sure you have access to all of our licensed resources, you will want to sign in with your Brown username and password.

                Text Box: BruKnow Main Search Results

Too many results?

When you enter a search query from within BruKnow, the default option is to search Everything. This can lead to an overwhelming number of results. You can use the filters to narrow down your search after it has been carried out, or you can use the Advanced Search option.

But, you can also limit your search from the start by choosing Library Catalog instead of Everything. This will help you find books more quickly without a lot of extraneous material appearing in your results list. As you start to type in your search query, the various search options will appear next to your query. Select the second one down, Library Catalog.


BruKnow search interface: library catalog example


Now you are getting results that are found only in the library collection, including books:


BruKnow search by catalog: results list example