Getting Started

Most databases, whether they are a library catalogue or a specialized database, allow you to search for books, journal articles, and more, with a single search.  You can then narrow your results with filters, or more advanced search options.

Developing a good search strategy is important

  • what is your assignment?
  • what is the main topic?
  • what aspect of the topic is of interest to you?
  • who has an interest in that topic?
  • what other language might they be using to talk about that topic? do they spell it differently?
  • when was it relevant? is it a new idea, or a long standing issue?
  • what other factors play into your issue? climate, population, government, geography, etc.
  • and each new discover may mean you need to restart your search process

Sample search:

  • public administration AND canad*
    • Boolean operators must be all caps - AND/OR will narrow or expand your results
    • quotes will keep words together
    • the * will look for alternate endings
  • add filters:
    • During COVID-19 select 'Available online' so that you only see available results
    • Add resources beyond Carleton's collection' to broaden your results
    • Peer-reviewed journals
    • Subjects
    • Publication date 

Some tips for searching in Omni:

  1. Remember that Interlibrary Loans are quick and efficient for retrieving material we don't hold
  2. We are still in the early stages with the new system - if your results are glitchy, do them again, clear your cache and redo the search, get in touch to see if it is a bigger problem
  3. right click on title and 'open link in new tab (or window)' to avoid pop up window
  4. within search results, when scrolling through pages - time out is 30 minutes of inactivity, then resets to first page 

Suggested reference sources:

Content last reviewed: July 10, 2020