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What is in Primo? When should I use Primo?

Primo contains all of Washington University Libraries’ holdings, including books, journals, periodicals, and multimedia. The default search also shows results from a large index comprising billions of records for popular and scholarly articles, as well as other materials.

You can limit your search criteria in a variety of ways, both before and after obtaining results.

Practically everything the library has access to, including the records in other subject databases, is discoverable via Primo. If you have a general or multi-disciplinary topic that you are starting to research, or if you are tracking down a specific citation for a known item, Primo is a great place to start.

However, subject databases with a refined scope may still offer you a more robust way of setting your search criteria. If you are wanting to search by chemical reactant, industry classification code, docket number, age of experimental subjects, and so on, for example, one of our subject databases is a better place to start your search.

Ask Us for help with your research.

Frequently Asked Questions

Known Issues

Missing Catalog Information

Newer records from the Classic Catalog are not currently displaying accurate holdings information (such as the call number and library location). As a workaround, if you encounter such a record, you can obtain this data by following the "Check holdings" link.

There are additional known defects with the records from the Classic Catalog as displayed in Primo. Deleted records (such as for withdrawn titles) are not properly removed. Other information from catalog records may also be missing from Primo. This includes the ISBN for newer records. To reliably search for a book by ISBN, use the Classic Catalog.

We are looking into these issues.

University-wide Licensed Content

Please be aware that the full-text availability indicators within Primo are set to display information based on the "main campus" subscriptions we have for content that is accessible by all WashU patrons.

Additional e-resources may be available to patrons of certain libraries, such as the Becker Medical Library or the Law Library, who have negotiated exclusive licenses for sites limited to only patrons affiliated with particular schools within WashU.

Primo is unable to display any information about these school-specific arrangements.

Linking Problems

Our linking system does not work perfectly. You may find a link in Primo that does not actually lead to the full-text of your item, and other materials which we have access to may be missing links.

Please let us know about any linking problems you encounter by completing the Report a Problem with an eJournal, eBook, or other eResource form.

The Fixing Linking Errors guide contains some tips for troubleshooting these errors on your own.

You can also use the portal to search by a known DOI for access.

Need Help?


See the vendor’s help site for more information.

Ask Us if you have any questions or comments.