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SOCY 122 ASO Section 700: Introduction to Academic Library Research

Basic Search Tips: Apply Boolean Operator to Focus Results

Search Tip Example
AND is assumed between words

happiness (AND) productivity (AND) workplace

Quotations for phases "social movements"


OR between related words

twitter OR facebook

NOT to exclude terms;

 gambling NOT lottery
Alternate word endings 

* for unlimited characters, especially used for word

endings; cultur* for culture, cultural, and culturally

Wildcard characters

?  for single character wildcard; wom?n for woman, women

Brackets to group terms Shakespeare (sonnet OR tragedy)


Basic and Advanced Searching in Omni

When searching for books on a topic, rather than for a specific title or author, search Omni by either using the Simple search box or Advanced Search. Simple search allows for both natural language searching or complex Boolean searching. Advanced Search enables to you specify where, in which fields, your keywords or subject terms must be located. Keywords are taken from many parts of the item records including the title, author, subject headings and table of contents fields, whereas subject terms come from official subject headings assigned to particular items.

Basic Search

The default search in Omni is Simple search. Enter one or more of your topic keywords into the Omni search box and then click the search button. Please note that the default search in Omni includes the physical holdings of Queen's University Library AND our Omni partner libraries in Ontario.

basic search on library homepage

Basic search supports the use of Boolean operators: AND, OR or NOT, and they must be entered in uppercase (e.g. twitter OR facebook).

To search for a specific phrase, type quotation marks around the phrase, otherwise AND is assumed between each word.  (example: "social movements").

basic search with boolean operators

Advanced Search

Advanced search enables you to construct more complex searches, combining subject terms with keywords, for example, and restricting your search results to the type of resource, such as books and ebooks, you wish to find.  For example, if you wanted to find books and ebooks at Queen's on the subject of social movements that also address the influence of twitter or facebook, published between 2010 and 2019:

advanced search screen in Omni

Advanced Search

Use the Advanced search option for more precise searching. By using the Advanced Search, you are considering elements like "Subject Heading," "Resource Type" such as "Books & eBooks" and "Publication Date" upfront, whereas in the Simple Search, you are limiting them afterward. Using the drop-down options within the Advanced Search screen to limit your search to specific fields and/or a combination of fields (Author, Title, Subject, Call number). You can also specify that your search words must be contained in the search field ("contains", "starts with" or "is (exact)."  


Once you have your initial search results, you can refine them by using the filters on the left side of the screen, such as to Books & eBooks, and perhaps to a specific Publication Date range (very useful if you want to see only recently published books on a subject):

filters in omni