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Introduction to Research: Humanities and Social Sciences

Finding Books

Omni is the library discovery tool for all of the libraries at Queen’s University. Search Omni to find books, journals, newspapers, government documents, videos, maps and more at the Library, as well as to renew and recall items, save searches and use other account features.

There are many ways to search Omni to find items that you need – the most used being by title, author, subject, and keyword. For more on using Omni, go to our Omni information page.

Using Omni Search to Find a Book

Finding a book, if you have the details, should be straightforward, Enter the title, enclosed in double quotation marks. If the title consists of a common phrase, you might need to enter an author surname as well. For example, I want to find the book, Great Expectations by Charles Dickens.


Omni search usually retrieves the best matches, and book results, at the top of the results list.  But if not,  limit your results by selecting Books & eBooks under Resource Type.


Advanced Search

Using the Advanced Search feature in Omni allows you to conduct a more specific search.


Topic Searching in Omni

You can also use Omni for topic searching. For example you want to find resources on the effect of climate change on wildlife.

Reminder #1:  In Omni, the terms are combined with the AND operator. So our search is effectively:

Reminder #2:  The double quotation marks force the enclosed words to be searched for as a phrase.

"climate change" AND wildlife

You could also expand your search by thinking of other terms to describe your topic and then incorporate them into your search.

Reminder #3: Truncation and wildcards are used to search for any spelling of a word

Truncation: use an asterisk (*) to replace part of a word:

climat*  = climate, climatic


Omni searches across nearly all the Library's resources so you will usually get lots of results, and all kinds of resources.

Use the Refiners on the left side to show only results by certain criteria.

You can refine by criteria such as Resource type (e.g. Books  eBooks), Dates, and more.

If you are getting still too many results, and they don't seem relevant, try going to Advanced Search. You can then:

  • Change from searching in Any field to in Title. This will search for your terms only in the title of each record, and you should get fewer results that are more relevant ... (keep in mind the words your enter would have to be in the title!)
  • Change Any field to Subject. This will search for your terms only in the Subject Headings of each record. (Keep in mind that the words you enter would have to be in the subject field)

Reminder #4: If you are STILL not satisfied with the results, try searching directly in a relevant database.

Locating our Books

The library organizes its materials according to the Library of Congress Classification (LC) system.

For a brief introduction, go to this web site: Library of Congress Classification Outline.

How to Read a Call Number