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Montana State University - Home Montana State University Library - Home Ask the Library

Resources for High School Students

This guide was designed to help high school students find and use MSU Libraries' resources for their research projects.

Online access

Many of the library's online resources can only be accessed from off-campus by those affiliated with MSU (students, faculty, and staff).  You are welcome to use all of these resources while you are at the library.  However, here are some services and resources you can access from home or your school:

Need help with your research? Our library staff have limited availability. Contact us via email and we will do our best to get back to you within a reasonable timeframe.

Need to find a book? our library catalog (Books & Media Search) is open access so you can use it from anywhere to see what we have.  You will have to come to the library to use the materials you find, whether electronic or in print, or check out print materials if you have a Courtesy Borrower's Card.

Digital collections? we are making some of our unique collections available online.  To access those, see

Google Search Tips

Search within a Specific Site or Domain
Precede your query with site: if you know you want your answer from within a specific site or type of site (.org, .edu). For example: site:edu or

Search by File Type
Search for specific types of files, such as PDFs, PPTs, or XLS, by adding filetype: and the 3-letter file abbreviation.

For example hellbender filetype:.pdf

Include or Ignore Words and Characters in Your Search
Highlight common words and characters such as the and & if they are essential to your search (as in a movie or book title) by putting quotation marks "the" around them. You can also use the minus - sign to specify particular items you don't want in your results, like ingredients in a recipe.

Similar Terms
Get results that include synonyms by placing the ~ sign immediately in front of your search term. A search for Christmas ~dessert recipes, for instance, will return results for desserts, along with candy, cookies and other treats.

Other Tips and Tricks

  • Minus sign for NOT. ex hellbender –movie
  • Hellbender or Hellbender to search either a specific domain or a specific website
  • Quotes for exact terms “eastern hellbender”
  • Asterisk as a wildcard place holder  "* hellbender" will return eastern hellbender, ozark hellbender, etc.
  • OR use OR between search terms to find one of several words salamander OR hellbender

For more help see the Google Search Tips page