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Library Research Guide: Finding Books and e-Books

This is a general purpose guide with tips and tricks on how to conduct research using library resources.

Search Tips


Wildcards/Truncation: Wildcards/truncation refers to the placement of an asterisk at the meaningful root of a word to retrieve results containing that word and all of its subsequent endings. Use a * at the end of the root word or use a ? in place of a letter.
Examples: environment* polic*, wom?n
Boolean Operators: Use "AND" or "OR" or "NOT" to narrow or broaden your search:
Use AND to make your search more specific and narrow your search.
Use OR to search for clusters of related terms enclosed in parentheses to broaden your search.
Use NOT to exclude words to narrow your search.
Example: (First Nations OR Aboriginal OR Indigenous) AND Canada
Field limits: Field limits are often set to search for keywords but you can change the field limit to search only the specified field for the specified word(s). For example:
Field limit: Author: Samuel Beckett
Field limit: Title: Waiting for Godot
Grouping:  Keyword search results are usually grouped by relevance to bring the most likely titles to the top of the list. Each group represents a similar level of relevance and results are sorted within the group by date or title. To get an ungrouped result set, use boolean operators to form a complex query.


Search by Keyword

The library catalog's default search setting is set to keyword. Begin by identifying the key words in the question or the subject you wish to find materials for. Here is an example:

Research question:

How do mass media biases manipulate public opinion?

Begin by identifying important words in the question.

For example:

"mass media" AND bias AND "public opinion"

Go to the library catalog to perform the keyword search. Remember to think about different terms (synonyms) which may prove to be more effective during the search process. Bias, for instance may be changed to, or searched in conjunction with related keywords such as partisan.

Search by Call Number

If you know the call number of the book you are looking for, you can use it to find similar materials. Searching by call number allows you to go directly to a book's bibliographic record, while gaining the ability to search the shelves virtually from the comfort of your own desk or home.

Every item in the library has been assigned a call number. These numbers tell us the subject area of the material, the location of the item in the library, and the physical order of the books on the shelf. It is these numbers that allow you to see all of the titles of the books located next to the searched item on the shelf.

Give it a try!

Go to the library catalogue and search by the call number P92.U5 C57 1971

As you can see, this call number is associated with the book Don't Blame the People: How the News Media Use Bias, Distortion and Censorship to Manipulate Public Opinion by Robert Cirino.

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Need Help?

Have a question about checking out books or finding a book using the call number? Check out our FAQs on books.

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Interlibrary Loans

Can't find a book or book chapter, article, thesis or dissertation, or multimedia that you need?

If we don't have the item in our collection, you can request it through interlibrary loan at no cost for students.