The University of Winnipeg uses WorldCat to search for books, journal subscriptions, videos, government publications, archival material and other formats available in the Library and online all in one search interface.

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Searching for a Topic

Background Information

It’s often useful to get a good grasp on your topic before delving into your research. You can do this in a number of different ways, but the best is to find a good reference article, from an encyclopedia or dictionary, to give you the basic history, scope, and terminology, of your topic. Try searching forencyclopedia [subject area] to find out what reference works the library has. Then, look within that work to find an article relevant to your topic.

Topic Keyword Searching

Most of us are used to keyword searching from using tools like Google. It’s easy: enter the words you’d like to find, and Google does the rest. What many people don’t realize is that there are a few simple techniques to improve the results you get searching Google, or any other computer search system, including the library databases.

Tricks for Better Keyword Searching

Phrase Searching: placing quotation marks around phrases will search the exact phrase as opposed to each individual word. e.g. “pigeon behaviour”

Truncation: Use an asterisk to search for multiple endings of a term. e.g. psycholog*

AND: Narrow your search to include items that contain both/all terms. e.g. pigeons AND psycholog*

OR: Broaden your search to include synonyms or related concepts. e.g. pigeons OR doves

NOT: Narrow your search by eliminating items that contain certain unrelated terms. e.g pigeons NOT technology

Nesting: Join multiple searches together by nesting each within parentheses. e.g. (pigeons OR doves) AND (psycholog* OR behav*)

For more help with searching, visit Searching for Sources.