Helka Guide: Search Tips

Helka Tutorial Videos

Helka tutorial videos

Helka Tutorial How to Find Sources (6:09 min, Helsinki University Library 2021, CC BY)


How to Find Helsinki University Library e-Materials in Google Scholar – (0:57 min, Helsinki University Library 2021, CC BY)

How to Find a Book

How to find a book

Write the name of the book (or some words of it) and choose “Library Catalog".

You can also write names of the authors in order to refine the result.    

Helka Search a book in Basic search

Helka Basic Search

Helka Basic Search

In Helka basic search you can target your search to specific resource types. The default option is Library catalog (books, journals, databases, theses). You can also target your search to International articles or choose Everything (searches everything Helka contains).

Helka Basic Search target

You can choose how your query words appear in the search result.

  • The default option is “that contain my query words” (all words should appear).
  • You can also choose “with my exact phrase” (words should be exactly in the order and form you have written them).
  • You can also choose “begins with” (your keywords appear in the beginning of the search, e.g. the beginning of the title).

Helka basic search How query words are searched

You may also target the search to different fields: in the title, author, subject or ISSN (for journals and series).

Helka bsaic search Choose fileds


How to Find Books on a Topic

How to find books on a topic
  • Write keywords on your topic in English (and in Finnish) and click “Library catalog”
    • Using Finnish keywords in addition to English ones broadens your search results. In Helka printed books – regardless of their language – usually have Finnish keywords from the Finnish thesaurus called YSO (General Finnish Ontology). In YSO you can find keywords in Finnish, English and Swedish. Go to YSO, write your keyword in English and you'll find the Finnish (and Swedish) translations.
    • E-books have keywords in the language they have been written (majority of the e-books in Helka are in English).
  • You can truncate keywords with asterisk (*) to get all variations of a word (root), e.g. librar* -> library, libraries
  • The quotations around the words refine the search, e.g. "climate change". Using quotation marks is equal to search option “with my exact phrase” in the Helka basic search.  
  • Keywords can be combined with the Boolean operators AND, OR, NOT. (Write the Boolean operators AND, OR, NOT with capital letters in order to perform the search right).  
    • sweetener OR sucrose OR saccharose OR sugar  
    • (sweetener* OR sugar) AND (teeth OR tooth)

You can refine the search results with various filters in the “Tweak your results” menu on the right. 

How to find Articles on a Topic

How to find articles on a topic
  • Target your search by choosing International articles.
  • Use keywords in English (depending on your subject, also other languages may be useful)
  • Please note when using Helka's International articles search:
    • Search results may also include references without acces to fulltext (references to e-articles or e-books library has not bought)
    • Search includes most of the databases library has bought but not all
    • If you are doing systematic/ comprehensive search, it is useful to search international articles in field specific and multidisciplinary databases. You find them in Helka by browzing databases by category in the Helka Database Search or by browzing the field specific research guides by the library.


Helka Advanced Search

Helka Advanced Search

The Advanced search offers more options to target your search and combine keywords.

  • In the Search profile you can target your search to the Library catalog, International articles or Everything.
  • You can target your search to title, author or subject .
  • You can specify your keyword search (contains / (is) exact / starts with). Searching with “is exact” is equal as phrase search (quotation marks around the words).
  • You can combine your keywords with AND/OR/NOT operators.
  • You can target the search to a specific material type (books, articles etc), language or year range.

A search string example (English and Finnish keywords, words are truncated with * mark)

Helka advanced search Find a book