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Database Help: Pioneer Search

Find answers to your questions on the library's online resources, including databases.

Pioneer Search is a discovery tool that searches materials found in multiple resources in one search. The software program behind Pioneer Search is Primo, a product from Ex Libris, which is customized based on the resources available at Thigpen Library. 

Pioneer Search finds books, ebooks, and streaming videos based on the title, description, and subjects. It does not search within the book or video transcript.

Using Pioneer Search helps you discover information, but it has limits.

  • It does not search all the library's online resources.
  • Not all the content from a database is available.  
    • Specialized content is not included
    • Some journal and magazine content is excluded in search results. For example, a journal title from JSTOR is listed on the Journal Finder but you do not find articles from that journal.
    • Content recently added to a database may not be in Pioneer Search until weeks later. For example, U.S. Major Dailies adds content daily from newspapers but only sends new information to Primo on a weekly basis.
    • Content deleted from a database will not be immediately removed from Pioneer Search. For example, a deleted EBSCO eBook will display in Pioneer Search with an inaccessible link while a title search in the EBSCO database for the same eBook shows "Results are not found"

Search options in Pioneer Search

The default search is a simple search that searches everything. If you want physical items search "in the library" or search "course reserves" for textbooks or other class materials on reserve in the library. Use advanced search for best results.

Pioneer Search does not like phrase searching with quotation marks so use the advanced search option.

Advanced Search

Use Advanced Search to search by title, author/creator, subject, call number, or ISBN. 

Limiters include: material type, language, and publication date

Search For ...


"Everything" is the default option. With this option you search many, but not all, of the library's subscription databases, open access databases, librarian selected web resources, physical library materials, and course reserves.

In the Library

Select "In the Library" if you want to find physical materials available in one of the Vol State libraries. By physical materials we mean books not ebooks and DVDs not streaming videos. AV and tech equipment like cameras and laptops are available and discoverable by searching "in the library."

Course Reserves

The "Course reserves" search limits your results to items on reserve for Vol State courses. You can use this option to find textbooks on reserve for use in the library.

 Go to Circulation for more information on Thigpen Library's physical materials or contact circulation.

Login options for Pioneer Search

There are two login options in Pioneer Search - one is obvious and one is slightly hidden. Each option serves a different purpose. Use your Vol State username and password for both logins.

WARNING: Although the same username / password is used for both logins the verification process occurs on different servers. Use the full-text available or online access link for direct access to an online resource.

Library Account

"Sign in" logs you into your library account where you can view your checked out library materials and renew materials online. When signed in you can save searches, keep favorites, and email search results.

There are two "Sign in" locations: one is on the search results page and the other is a link on the main navigation bar. Selecting Sign in from either link logs you into your library account. You cannot access links to database articles with this sign-in.

Contact circulation for help renewing a book or other questions about your library account.

Access Online Resource

A different login option allows you to view and use an online article, ebook, or streaming video — click the "Full-text available" or "online access" link.

When the resource is available in more than one database select the database title to view the resource.

If you are off-campus you will be directed to the proxy login for verification. This is the same process used when you select a database to search from our A-Z Database list.