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Primo help

What is Primo and how can it be used? Below we will explain what kind of search tool Primo is and how to use the most common features in it.

About Primo

Primo  is the KTH Library search tool in which you search for publications the library has on the shelves and that we offer in electronic form, like e-journals and e-books. In Primo you search in a large amount of scientific materials. By default your search is limited to material that is directly available from the library in print or electronic form, but you can also choose to broaden your search to materials that the library does not have . Such materials may instead be requested.

Comparison to other search tools

Primo is similar to other general scientific search services such as Scopus, Web of Science or Google Scholar, but is directly tailored to students and researchers at KTH for example through the following features:

  • Primo contains all printed material at the KTH Library
  • Primo includes e-books in the search, often also at chapter level
  • You can restrict the search to materials that the KTH Library has access to
  • It is easy to order materials that the library has no access to

Although Primo is a quite comprehensive search service, it does not replace all other search tools and information sources. Thorough searches on specific topics and materials may require more specialized search services. An overview of the library's subscribed resources and other information services relevant to the KTH disciplines is available here at the page Databases and search tools

Primo search results

Primo returns results from the library’s physical collection (books and journals available at our library units), electronic materials that we subscribe to and also from some Open access collections:

An example of a result where both electronic and printed versions are available.

It is possible to expand the search to materials that is not directly available, but which may be available for requesting. To view this expanded results, check this box:

Check "Include materials outside the library's collections" to expand search

Note that some providers of search data do not allow their data to be made available for search by persons without a KTH affiliation. This means that, if you are outside KTH's network, you need to log in to get the same results as when you are on a KTH connection.

For more details about what material is indexed in Primo (in addition to the library’s physical collection) see the documents at this this page (click the latest "CDI Collection List") .

Open access links

For some results you will see an additional link to an open access version of the article. This complimentary check is made against Unpaywall  in real time:

Link to Open Access version for this article

For each Open access link, the small information icon explains its status. The following variants exists:

  • This is the final published version of the article, freely available (open access) on the publisher's website.
  • This is the final published version of the article, freely available in an open access archive.
  • This is a free postprint version of the article available in an open access archive. I.e it is the accepted and reviewed manuscript, but not the final published article.
  • This is a free preprint version of the article available in an open access archive. I.e. it is the manuscript as submitted to the journal, not yet accepted or reviewed and not the final published article.
  • Version status for this article is not known. The article is available in an open access archive.

Advanced search

More search filed are available by clicking the icon to the right of the search box:

Advanced search icon
Advanced search icon

Search Operators and Query Modifiers

In Primo you may use 

" " to search for a phrase like "global warming".
NOT to exclude words like celtic NOT irish.
OR to search for at least one of the words (or phrases) that you type: irish OR celtic.
( ) to group terms within a query: Shakespeare AND (tragedy OR sonnet).
? as a single character wildcard, for example wom?n.
* as a multiple character wildcard, for example type cultur* to search for that stem.


After a search has been performed in Primo it may be modified in different ways. Broad filters based on material types are available at the top of the results and more filters can be found in the right hand column (or on smaller screens at the bottom). The latter filters you can choose to either include in or exclude from the ongoing search. To exclude, hover the cursor to right of the term you want to exclude:

Filters used to modify your search

Active filters are shown at the top right and may be locked for the session (click the padlock icon).

Options to remove or lock active filters

Sorting and ranking

Use the Sort by or Personalized ranking options to change sorting and ranking of the search results.

Sorting options in Primo

Relevance ranking

For larger search results, the only practical sorting option is Relevance. Some words about the ranking:

Primo searches for the user’s terms in the metadata fields. Furthermore, expansions and interpretations of the query are applied under certain circumstances and may include identification of term variations and spelling mistakes, expansion based on word stems, search of full text, recognition of year of publication, compound words and citation formats. Primo gives more weight to the original version of the query than to variations.

Weight is added to an item in the results if the query terms occur in specific fields (primarily the author, title, and subject fields) and if the order of the query terms or phrases is the same as in the query. The academic significance of the publications in the results is taken into consideration. This is calculated from factors such as if the item was published in a peer-reviewed journal, how many times cited, and what type of material (for example a journal article is considered more significant than a newspaper article). Newer materials are also prefered. 

Primo also try to infer the type of search the user is conducting, such as known-item search or broad-topic search. In broad-topic searches (no specific item in mind) Primo boosts overview material, such as reference articles. In known-item searches Primo takes into account authors, exact titles or other variations including entire citations.

The detailed view

The detailed view offers features and information depending on the available data. In addition to bibliographic details, information on the detailed view may include:

Links to citation information

This section displays links to the current article's references in Primo that and/or articles in which the current article is refered to.

Furthermore there are links to the article's page in Scopus and Web of Science, where you can find more even citation (and other) information.


Recommendations are based on usage data from research institutions around the world. Starting from the article the user is looking at it checks what other articles were also accessed together with it by other users, and displays a list of articles.


If availabe, this section contains links to journal information from Journal Citation Reports and the article overview at Altmetric.

On the same shelf

A browse functionality based on the shelving in the library. It shows the books next to the book you are looking at. Please note that not all shelves in the library are ordered by subject, which means that this listing sometimes may appear slightly weird.

Favorites and saved searches

The Favorites page in Primo is where you manage your saved searches, saved records, alerts and session search history. Please remember that you need to be signed in to save records and searches between sessions:

Searches and records may be saved between sessions

Alerts may be activated for saved searches. Your query will be run automatically at scheduled times and sends you new results via e-mail. It is also possible to subscribe to a query as an RSS feed:

Example of a listing on the saved searches page

My account

My account is where you view and administer your loans, requests and settings.