bonnus - discovery service of Bonn University

Help and frequently asked questions concerning bonnus

FAQ - Frequently asked questions concerning bonnus

Here you will find the frequently asked questions that were posed in connection with the search portal bonnus. Please take the time to read through these. If you still have any questions or encounter difficulties using the search portal, please use the feedback button on the left-hand side. Your search query will automatically be sent to us as an attachment so that we can comprehend your request. We nevertheless recommend using the text box to briefly describe the issue. A conclusive subject is also helpful.

Of course, you can also use the feedback button for general comments and criticism concerning bonnus and individual functions and features. Your comments and suggestions help us to improve bonnus even further.

Content + access » Which sources does bonnus cover?

You can find the major collections and holdings of the libraries of Bonn University in bonnus. In addition to this, you search further resources as, for instance, licensed and open access journals and books, as well as contents of other database providers. The amount of contained sources within bonnus steadily increases.

Apart from the on-site printed and physical holdings or the online accessible electronic collections, numerous documents are also offered and can be ordered via inter-library loan.

Content + access » Why can’t I access contents?

There are different reasons as to why the contents cannot be accessed.

If you are within the library or University computer network, you can access all contents that have a fulltext status. The provided link will direct you to the desired fulltext.
If a document has the fulltext status and cannot be accessed, it is an error. If that is the case, please send us feedback (green button on the left-hand side) and we will try to find a solution.

Outside the University computer network, only members of Bonn University are able to use the electronic media. A Uni-ID is required for identification.

Content + access » How can I access full-texts outside the library?

Members of Bonn University can use a so-called remote access, this means the usage of the digital resources outside the University.

In order to use the remote-access a Uni-ID is necessary, given to students after registration or to staff by the University Computer Centre. Further information on the off-site usage of electronic resources can be found on our website in the section "use e-media”.

External users can only consult full-texts using the library’s on-site service PCs and save or print these as needed.

Content + access » How can I access fulltexts as an external user?

Library users who are not members of Bonn University can only use the computers in the Main Library or the MNL Department Library.

You have the possibility to print these texts or save files to your own USB stick for free. Further information on printing and saving can be found on our website "Printing, copying, scanning, saving”.

Search » Can I search for specific essays or articles? And, if so, how?

Yes, you can search for specific essays, articles or contributions included in journals, newspapers or books (component part of a bibliographically independent work) in bonnus. A great number of journal articles and book chapters are available as fulltexts and can be viewed and searched online. A search for component parts can be carried out by entering the article’s title and author of the article.

If your search does not yield results, perform another search for the main work, as i.e. the journal title or the book itself. Here, you should only enter the information of the main work, as i.e. the journal title.

Search » How can I specifically search for a document?

You can search for a specific title (document) by entering the author’s name, title etc. You can use the basic search as well as the advanced search for this.

Besides different distinct search criteria, as i.e. ISBN or ISSN, you can also search by shelf mark. Use the search box "shelf mark” for this. Shelf marks can be right truncated. Please note that you have to enter the shelf mark precisely including any existing space characters. If a shelf mark contains a bracket, you should truncate after the opening bracket.


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Hint for members of staff: You can also search the library collections using the search criterion "Katalogschlüssel” in the advanced search. This field is for a SISIS’s Katkey search. Alternatively, you can search with Alephs’ HT number via the criterion "All Fields” and enter the exact and precise number.

Search » I am trying to find (Bonn University) dissertations. How can I specifically search for these?

You can specifically search for dissertations by selecting the search field "dissertation”. Specific terms are necessary for the search query and these terms are described in detail in the section search tips regarding the search criterion "dissertation”.

Search » I combine several search terms with operators, but these have apparently not all been recognized and included and I receive irrelevant hits. What can I do?

In a basic search query, the individual search terms are automatically combined with the AND operator. No specific search operators can be applied here. Search operators can be applied in the advanced search, if you wish to work with search operators.

As a basic rule, especially when entering several search terms and combining these with the AND operator the search results will strongly be limited. It may then be the case that no accurately matching documents are found. In these cases the most relevant documents matching your search query will be displayed.

Try to formulate a new search query and try not to narrow down your search as much for the time being. Select fewer filters, for example, or perform a search using the generic terms of your search terms or enter synonyms that you then combine with OR respectively.

Search » I am trying to find legal commentaries. What is the best approach?

In legal science, works are most often named after the original authors. These are usually the founders of a work, but are not always the author of the latest edition. Therefore, use the search criterion Name (Author, Editor...) or All Fields.

Many legal commentaries are published within a serial publication. Differentiate between the title of the whole series and the title of the desired individual work. The author of the individual work is often not the editor of the main series. Therefore you need to enter the name plus the title of the specific desired individual work. If you only know the name and title of the serial publication, carry out a search with All Fields.

Abbreviations of titles are frequently used in specialised legal literature. These abbreviations are not all deposited in bonnus and the works can then not be found. If you do not receive any relevant hits, spell out the abbreviation and enter the long version of the title.

If you search for available online fulltexts, please note the specialised legal databases (in german). Due to licensing restrictions, the majority of specialised legal databases are not included in bonnus. In order to find more documents, you have to separately search in individual databases.

Search » I have used very common search terms. What is the best approach?

If you can only use very general terms, an advanced search would be the best search method. You have the possibility to enter your search terms in different search fields and this allows you to search more precisely. Short or general titles will be found more precisely if you enter these as detailed as possible.

A so-called phrase search is also helpful. The phrase search not only searches for the individual terms, but also the concrete order of the search terms will be taken into consideration. The title should then be entered using quotation marks. This enables a precise search for complete word sequences or phrases.

Search » Is it possible to search for a document in a particular library?

Yes. After you have received your search results list, select the desired library from the filter "Bonn University libraries” on the right hand side of the screen. Click on the green plus symbol in order to select one or more libraries. The red minus symbol allows you to specifically exclude individual libraries.
The "Bonn University libraries” filter’s display is set to sort the libraries according to the size of the library’s collections. The library with the largest collection will be displayed at the top of the list.

If the set filters are not deselected for a new search query, they will also remain active for further search queries.

Search » How can I alter my search query?

If you have preformed a basic search, the terms you entered in the search box can be found above the search result list. Here, you can alter and adjust your search or perform a new one. If you wish to switch to the advanced search, use the Link "Advanced Search” next to the search box.

When you have performed an advanced search, a bar shaded in brown with various links appears above the search result list. This bar allows you to refine your search query. The terms you have previously entered remain in the search mask and do not have to be entered once again.

Search » How can I find thematically similar documents?

If you have already found a document and are looking for a similar ones there are various possibilities to do so.

Various documents within bonnus are connected by subject headings or strings of indexing terms. Selecting the subject heading with a click will perform a new search with the chosen subject heading. All Documents which include this subject heading will be found.

Documents in bonnus are classified in a classification system. The individual notations are constructed differently. They consist of combinations of letters, numbers or letter and number combinations that describe individual sub-areas of a subject/topic. If you click on an ULB notation (RVK-, DDC- or MSC- notation), you start a new search. This search will find documents sharing the same notation and the same subject matter as they are grouped thematically.

The RVK-classification system also allows you to display the main classification system by clicking on the blue plus symbol. This enables you to view the subject stem of the document.

The special systematic search (in german) offers an overview and a possibility to search within the ULB classification system.

Search » I am searching for a newspaper. How do I know which hit is the right one?

Often newspapers have common and frequently used terms in the title leading to numerous hits. This makes a precise evaluation of hits difficult. Enter the exact title in the basic search, if possible, for a more targeted search and change the search criterion to "title” or enter the search terms directly in the title field of the advanced search. Select the option "newspaper” in the filter "format”. This will then limit your results list considerably.

If you still cannot find the desired newspaper, additional information such as place of publication or publisher in the detailed record view may be helpful. Also title references giving former titles may help. As these pieces of information are offered as a link, you can easily switch between the records with a click.

Search » The desired document is not available in Bonn. What can I do?

Have you received the notification via the "in Bonn available?” link that no electronic or printed full text is held locally? You then have the opportunity to obtain the document as an inter-library loan. A valid library user ID is necessary for this.

Further information on inter-library loans can be found in the FAQ section.

Search » The document I require is only held by a department library. Where can I find it?

The name of the library owning the document is deposited as a link. With a click on the link, you receive more information on the library such as address and opening hours.

Information on individual libraries can be found on our website Bonn University libraries (in german).

Search » A document is not available in Bonn. In which other libraries is the document found in bonnus available?

Depending on the document, there are different ways to find out which library holds a document.

The title’s detailed record view displays which Bonn University library holds the desired document. You can also check if other libraries in Germany hold the document in the detailed record view. Numerous documents in bonnus contain HBZ-ID information that you can use to check whether or not other libraries in North Rhine-Westphalia have this document. Just follow the link "further holdings in NRW”.
Newspapers and journals have a so-called ZDB-ID. You have the possibility to check which library has certain issues of a journal or newspaper.

Important note: Inter-library loans can only be requested to obtain documents that are not held in Bonn as an electronic or printed text. If the desired item is currently checked out, you can place a hold.
Please note: if a journal newspaper is generally available in Bonn, but the issue is not held in Bonn, please approach the inter-library loan team. The inter-library loan system automatically declines these orders.

Results list » The desired document is not included in the displayed results list. Does this mean it is not available?

Have you received the "No Results!” notification or are no relevant documents included in the results list? Then check your search query again. Is the spelling correct? Are restrictive filters perhaps still set?

Are you not looking for a specific document, but for literature on a specific topic in general? Then you can redraft your search query and consider using alternative search terms. You could, for example, use synonyms, generic terms or perhaps terms in a different language. A truncation of terms may also make sense.

If you still do not find the desired document in bonnus, there is the possibility of another search query in a specialised database (in german). A search in a specialised database allows a more precise formulation of a search compared to a more general search query in bonnus, as differentiating search strategies are possible.

Moreover, not all contents of all databases, available to users of Bonn University, are covered in bonnus. Another possibility is a search query in the Metasearch Digibib. Here, you can search in German and International library catalogues or place an inter-library loan by directly making use of the Link "check availability”.

Results list » The documents in the results list do not match my search query. What can I do?

Check your search query again. Is the spelling correct? Are restrictive filters perhaps still set?

You have possibly entered multiple search terms at the same time and limited your search query further with filters. It may then be the case that no precisely matching documents were found in bonnus. For this reason, at least documents corresponding to your search query the most are displayed. You should perform a new search query in this case using less search terms or a search using All Fields, which will then not limit the results as much.

If you do not search for a specific document, but for literature regarding a specific topic in general, consider using alternative search terms. You could, for example, use synonyms, generic terms or perhaps terms in a different language. A truncation of terms may also make sense.

Results list » How can I sort documents of the results list by year of publication?

By default, the results list is sorted according to relevance. This means the results matching your search query the most, will appear at the beginning of the list.

If you wish to sort the results in chronological order instead, you can use the drop-down menu directly above the results list and select the option to sort by ascending and descending year of publication.

Important note: Sorting by date can lead to documents appearing at the top of the results list that hardly match your search query.

Results list » I receive multiple results for the same hit. Why is that?

In bonnus different data sources are incorporated. The contained data of the different data sources may overlap as to why data is brought together by index providers as far as possible. In the interests of clarity and transparency, printed and electronic editions are displayed as different versions of the same hit.

If the records of the different data sources differ, they cannot automatically be deemed as identical and results cannot be compiled. For this reason it may occur that there are multiple, seemingly identical hits regarding one title.

Results list » The search result list is far too big. What can I do?

A search in bonnus will deliver a comprehensive result and so the amount may be very large. It is important to note that the most relevant documents will be displayed at the top of the results list.

The hits are sorted according to relevance, that is the relevant documents of your search query will appear at the very top of the list. The documents at the bottom of the list are not that interesting for you as they do not match your search query that well.

If unsuitable documents appear at the top of the list, refine your search query by setting filters on the right-hand side of your results list. The number of hits can be reduced with these filters. Alternatively, you can alter your initial search query.

Results list » Where can I find more information on the titles of my result list?

A click on the respective status, i.e. "Holdings Uni Bonn” or "full-text” directly delivers information on how to get hold of the title. For more details on the individual copy itself, click on the document’s title. The detailed record view offers detailed records on the document itself and also on accessibility.

Important note: When you click on the author’s name instead or, for example, with book chapters, on the main work’s title, a new search will initiate accordingly.

Filter » I am trying to set a filter, but bonnus does not seem to respond properly. What can I do?

When you set a filter the results list automatically updates accordingly. This may take a moment.
If you set various filters in quick succession, this will not be registered as bonnus has not updated the results list yet. Wait for a moment after setting a filter before you set the next one. You can use the appearing loading symbol for orientation.

If you still have problems setting filters, please use the green feedback form on the left-hand side of the screen and describe your issue.

Process results » The printout of the results list does not include all of the necessary data. What can I do?

As you print results lists, you receive a brief record view. If these do not include the required information or if you wish to receive a full record view, you need to export your list first.

An export in different formats is possible. You can select the txt format for word processing programs or the CSV format for spreadsheets (e.g. Excel). Download the export file and then, as usual, print the data.

My Account » I receive fee-based notifications by post. Can I receive these by email?

Yes, that is possible. Please fill in the email notifications form. You will receive notifications automatically and free of charge informing you when you can pick up your reservation or interlibrary loan or when the loan period has expired, if you leave your email address.

Book recalls and fee notifications will still be sent by post for legal reasons.

My Account » I would like to sign on with my user ID for the first time. What must I do?

Apart from your user number you need a created password of your choice in order to sign on to bonnus.

Please read the information on "My Account".

My Account » I forgot my password. What can I do?

Please read our information on “password” in the help section of "My Account".

My Account » My personal data, e.g. address or name, has changed. What do I have to do?

The menu item "personal data" in your account displays an overview of your data. You cannot make any modifications concerning your data yourself. If there has been a change concerning your data, please read our information on the topic “change personal data" in the "My Account" help section.

My Account » How can I renew the loan period of borrowed media?

Please read our information on the topic “renewal of the loan periods” in the “My Account” help section.

My Account » I do not possess a user ID. What features can I use anyway?

Users without a valid library card can also use many features. You can execute search queries and compile a temporary list for the duration of a session. These can be exported using reference management software or can be printed.

The accessibility of the individual documents is, however, restricted. You cannot borrow, reserve or order items and cannot access fulltexts outside the library’s premises. In addition, personalized functions, e.g. saving lists of favourites or search queries is not possible without a library card.

If you wish to get a user ID, please see the circulation desk staff in the Main Library or MNL Department Library.

I cannot cope with bonnus. Where can I get help?

We compiled a help section in order to facilitate the usage of bonnus. Within bonnus, you will find search tips at the bottom of each page. These are orientated towards the structure of bonnus. Detailed descriptions provide a systematic overview of bonnus’s features and characteristics.

If you have any difficulties or questions that arise during your research, please use the feedback form on the left-hand side of each page.

Our information teams of the Main Library and Branch Library MNL offer personal consultation Monday to Friday from 08:00 to 07:00 p.m.

If you have any suggestions or constructive criticism, please do not hesitate to contact the bonnus team: