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GPHY 227: Cities

A course guide for Geography 227

Google Scholar & Broad Multidiscplinary Indexes

Use the Google search engine to locate articles from a wide variety of academic publishers, professional societies, preprint repositories and universities, as well as scholarly articles published on the "open" web.
Setting up "Get it @Queen's" button on Google Scholar
Find articles in peer-reviewed journals, conference proceedings, monographs and reports covering a broad spectrum of topics.

Finding Government & Advocacy Group Info

Try using the Google Custom search to limit your results to information originating from government, non-government or think tank organizations.








Subject Specific Databases

Connecting Keywords

Used for
What it Does


when you want to find material containing two or more concepts

using AND between keywords means that both terms must appear somewhere in the record

narrows your search

A search for <benefits AND oil sands> would only retrieve those documents containing both the word benefits and the phrase " oil sands."


when you want to find material containing either or any of the keywords

use OR to combine synonyms and related terms

broadens your search

A search for <food scarcity OR food deserts, health geography> would retrieve information on either concept.


use NOT to exclude a concept or word from the search

use NOT sparingly, if at all, because you could end up excluding useful search results (e.g. articles or books that discuss both concepts)

narrows your search

A search for <NGO NOT governments> would exclude any results which contain the word "governments."


Truncation is like a shortcut. Placed at the end of the root of a word (or word stem), a truncation symbol tells the database to search for variant endings of the word, including plurals and singulars.

broadens your search

A search for <urban?> would retreive results containing alternate endings to the word like urbanism

A search from <wom?n> would include both woman and women

The * and ? truncation symbols used by databases


Nested Searching is used whenever you have more than one Boolean operator, such as AND and OR, in a search statement, it is necessary to separate them with parentheses. This is known as a "nested searching." Here's an example:

(shortage OR scarcity) AND ("natural resources" OR "ground water")

Nested searching tells the database the proper order in which to search for the keywords. Operations enclosed in parentheses are performed first followed by the operators outside the parentheses.

Note: Most databases use American spelling, so, when applicable, you should search for both versions of a word (e.g. use labour OR labor to retrieve either results for either spelling).


"return on investments"
"climate change"
"developing countries"

Getting Started in Omni

Omni offers enhanced discovery and delivery of information resources at Queen's, our partner institutions, and beyond. Implementation of this tool involved collaboration among 18 Ontario partner university libraries.  Please contact your subject librarian for a consultation on advanced research approaches within your discipline.

Please note: Omni times out after 30 minutes of inactivity, resetting itself to the default search page. 

To work from off-campus, log in to the Off-Campus Access link on the library homepage. This is the gateway to full-text library content. The Omni Sign in link below is to manage your account and enable access to full text if you haven't already logged in. If you search Omni and click a link to an online resource without Off-Campus login, you will be prompted to give your NetID.

Sign in first to:

  • Update your profileSign in for more options.
  • Check loans and requests
  • Renew materials
  • Identify loanable resources
  • View your search history
  • Access Favourites
  • Create alerts

What is in Omni?

Access to multiple formats including books, articles, videos, maps, government documents, music, data sets, open access materials, and more. You can discover materials that are not available at Queen's (excluding e-books) but that you can freely request either within Omni or through interlibrary loan.

When to use Omni?

You want to find:

  • Background information 
  • Several articles to get started
  • An exact book or article title
  • Various formats (e.g. books and newspapers)
  • Sources on an interdisciplinary topic 
  • Local and/or unique resources

If you find it difficult to narrow your results, consider using a disciplinary database as recommended in the subject-specific Research Guides.