Omni is the library's discovery and delivery tool. Here are a few search tips on the following topics to help you get started.

Please contact your subject specialist or librarian for a consultation on advanced research approaches within your discipline.

Search Tips on:

Basic Searching

Apply Boolean operators to focus results:

  • AND combines descriptive keywords/concepts (AND must be in capitals) e.g. migration AND climate
  • Quotations for phrases e.g. "genetically modified foods"
  • OR between related words (OR must be in capitals) e.g. habitat OR ecosystem
  • NOT to exclude terms (NOT must be in capitals) e.g. corona NOT virus
  • Asterisk for alternate word endings e.g. cultur* for culture, cultural, and culturally
  • Question mark for single character wildcard e.g. wom?n for woman, women
  • Brackets to group terms e.g. "climate change" AND (ecosystem* OR habitat*) Ontario
  • Automatic search expansion includes additional terms e.g. heart attack returns "myocardial infarction"

Omni Automatic Search Expansion example

Find Specific Titles

To find a specific book or article title:

  • perform a keyword search with quotations around your title to force an exact phrase search (e.g. "A Brief history of time"). If you cannot isolate the title, try using the Advanced Search as follows.
  • click on "Advanced Search", select "title" as the field, choose "is (exact)", and select the preferred "Resource Type".

Omni Exact Title Search example

Advanced Search

Advanced Search enables additional techniques for narrowing results. You can apply Boolean operators and:

  • limit words and phrases to a specific field such as title or subject
  • identify the material type you want such as books or articles
  • select the language you prefer
  • set a date range
    • The example below illustrates a search for material relating to the forced migration of women and children.
    • The red arrows show the exact phrase "forced migration" has been limited to the title field and is in quotations.
    • Women OR child* has been added to the search and the OR command is in caps. The asterisk at the end of a word replaces all possbile endings.
    • The material type is set for All Items (includes both articles and books), and English language is selected.

Omni Advanced Searching Example

Journal Searching

  • Enter a journal title in the search box or use the Journal by category option to browse journals by category.

Omni Journal searching

  • Search for articles within the journal

Omni Journal content search

Use Filters to Refine your results

Sort by

Results are automatically sorted by relevance as determined by:

  • Frequency of matching words
  • A value score (query words in author, title, subject, plus date)
  • Proximity of search words to one another

Note: If you sort by Date-newest, you lose the relevance ranking.

Omni Sort By filters


  • "Available Online" limits results to online only content.
  • "Print/Physical Item" means physically available at MacOdrum library and includes books, DVD's, CD's, etc.
  • "Open Access" limits results to content that is freely available whether or not you are logged in via MyCarletonOne single sign-on. It may also be peer-reviewed.
  • "Peer-reviewed Journals" limits results to content that has gone through an academic peer-review process.

Omni Availability choices

Resource Types

Resource types are listed by frequency and according to your current search and include: articles, audiovisual, books & e-books, book chapters, conference proceedings, data sets, images, maps, newspapers, scores, reference entries (from an encyclopedia or handbook), reviews, technical reports, theses & dissertations, and videos.

  • Move the cursor to the left of a resource type and click the box to select it.
  • Move the cursor to the right and click the red check mark to exclude it.

Omni Resource Types

Finding Newspapers

  • To search a specific newspaper, choose "Journal Search" from the top banner, type the exact title, then "Search inside" to retrieve articles within that single newspaper.
  • Alternatively, perform a new search, then click "Newspaper articles" from the Resource Type listings. This locates topical news articles within many newspapers.
  • For historical newspapers, consult the Historical Archives web page.

Publication Date

Input a specific date range and select "Refine"


Omni uses a combination of Library of Congress and medical subject headings and subject tags from article databases. Search results can be narrowed through selection or exclusion of multiple subject headings.

  • Click to the left of a heading to select it.
  • Click to the right to exclude it.


Includes principal authors, corporations, and government agencies such as the Ontario Ministry of Education and the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Pin Sources in My Favourites

You can "pin" or save records of interest to "My Favourites" as you discover them. Go to "My Favourites" to view your pinned items.

  • Select the push pin icon beside the resource you want to "pin."

Omni Pin Favourites example

Groups of citations can be exported within My Favourites:

  1. Select the items for export
  2. Click on the three dots
  3. Download (to RIS Export)

Cite and Export Sources

To quickly cite an item, select the quotation icon located in the right hand corner of a record.

Select the citation style. Currently there are five options:

  • MLA (7th edition)
  • APA (6th ed.)
  • Chicago/Turabian (16th ed.)
  • MLA (8th ed.)
  • Harvard

Copy citations to a clipboard or Email selected items to yourself. Click here for more help with Citation Management.

Virtual Browse

Scroll to the bottom of a single record for a physical item to virtually browse other items sitting next to it on the shelf. Or, click "Virtual Browse" located in the left hand menu.

Omni Virtual Browse Example 1

Omni Virtual Browse Example 2

Note: Not all book covers appear and this feature is not associated with Browse option in the banner.

Related Reading

  • Use the "Related Reading" feature in Omni to discover other similar items. It is located on the right side of electronic article records.
  • The "Related Reading" list is harvested from user data from academic institutions around the world​. Related items may be from different journals, publishers and platforms.

Omni Related Related example

Follow Citation Trails

Notice the markers (up and down arrows) indicating citations that can be followed to find related sources. This is also known as Citation Chaining.

Omni Citation Trails example

  • Up arrows find sources citing this item.
  • Down arrows find sources cited in this item.

Relevance Ranking

Results are ranked using Intelligent Ranking Technology: word match, value score, and word proximity

  • Frequency of matching search words
  • A value score (query words in author, title, subject, plus date)
  • Proximity of search words to one another
  • Publication Date (most recent)
  • Search type (known item or topic search)
  • Local records are boosted so they appear higher on the results list
  • At least one highly relevant item should appear in the first 10 results

See also our Featured collections.

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