Skip to Main Content
The University of Manitoba campuses are located on original lands of Anishinaabeg, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota, and Dene peoples, and on the homeland of the M├ętis Nation. More

Undergraduate Help - All Text: Finding Books and Articles

Prefer video content? Click here for the video help area.

Finding New Books

Finding Known Books

Finding New Articles

Finding Known Articles

Searching: Using AND, OR, & NOT

Searching: Using Symbols & Quotations

Narrowing Your Search

Reading Call Numbers

How to Find Peer Reviewed Sources

Saving Possible Sources

Finding New Books

You can use the search bar to find books and articles in the library. There are two search options, a basic search from the Library’s homepage and the advanced search, which gives you more control. For this tutorial we will use the Advanced Search—be sure to login to your library account before beginning a search. 

Image highlighting the advanced search button's location underneath the main search bar.

The advanced search bars have pull down menus that allow you to search by "Any," "Title" and "Author." You can also choose the material type you would like to search for, including "Books," "Articles" and "Journals."

image highlighting the drop down options - any, title, author

To find a book about Canada’s involvement in World War I, type "Canada” in the first search bar with the pull down menu set as "Any." In the second search bar type “World War I." If you are searching for books choose "Books" as the Material type. 

image highlighting the material type drop down

Click the search button. Your search results will appear below with the closest matches appearing first. 

The libraries offer print books that you can find in the library using the call number in the catalog record. If you need help finding a book our staff will be happy to give you a hand. 

The Libraries also offer eBooks. You can narrow to eBooks by selecting the "Full Text Online" option. To open an eBook click on the yellow "Get it at UML" () link in the record. In the window that opens below choose one of the blue links to open the book in another website. 

To learn about making a list of search results see our video on “Saving your Search Results.”

Finding Known Books

It’s easy to find out if the Libraries have access to the book that you need, using the One Stop Search.

If you have the exact title of the item, you can simply type the title into the search box. If the words in the title are quite common, you can put quotation marks around it to keep the words in the exact order that you want them.

Be careful though, because even a small typo could result in a failed search. 

If you find that the title itself is quite common, you can add AND (in capital letters) with the author’s name to the search to narrow it down. 

If this is a physical book, use the location and call number in the record to find out where to get the book. 

If the book you’re looking for is an online resource, or e-book - do the search, and when you find the item you want, click on the “Get it @ UML” button () to get the link to the full text. You gain access to full text by using your 
UMNetID and password. 

Finding New Articles

You can use the One Stop Search bar to find journal articles in the library. There are two search options, a basic search from the Libraries’ home page and the Advanced Search option which gives you more control. In this video we will use the Advanced Search – be sure to login to your library account before beginning a search.

Once you are logged in, click on the Advanced Search link to open up the search page. The advanced search bars have drop down menus that allow you to search by “Any,” “Title,” and “Author.” You can also choose the material type you would like to search for, including “Books,” “Articles” and “Journals.”

To find an article about Canada’s Electoral Process you can type “Canada” in the first search bar with the drop down menu set as “Any.” In the second search bar type “Electoral Process.”

To narrow your results to show only articles, choose “Articles” as the Material type.

Click the search button. Your search results will appear below with the closest matches appearing first.  

One Stop Search will give you a list of all types of articles appearing in newspapers, magazines, and academic journals. If you need to find articles in academic journals or peer-reviewed journal you can chose this option in the left hand column. Click the option "Peer-reviewed Journals" to show only articles published in peer-reviewed journals.

To open a journal article click on the yellow Get It @ UML button (). Below you will see a list of databases that provide access to the article. Click on one of the links to open the article in a separate website.

To learn more about making a list of search results see our video on “Saving your Search Results”.

Finding Known Articles

Here are the basics about articles: Articles are in Journals, and Journals are in Databases.

It’s easy to find out if the libraries have access to the article you need using the One Stop Search

If you have the exact title of the item, you can simply type the title into the search box.

If the words in the title are quite common, you can put quotation marks around it to keep the words in the exact order that you want them.

Be careful with quotations though, because even a small typo could result in a failed search.

If you find that you are getting too many results, you can add AND (in capital letters) with the author’s name to the search to narrow it down.

Do the search, and when you find the item you want, click on the “Get it @ UML” button () to get the link to the full text. You gain access to full text by using your UMNetID and password. 

Searching: Using AND, OR, & NOT

This tutorial will show you the basics of using AND, OR, and NOT statements—called Boolean operators—while searching to help find what you’re looking for. 

Using the database PsycINFO to demonstrate, but keep in mind that you can use these techniques in virtually any of our scholarly journal databases. You may encounter slight differences in how the rules are applied, but the fundamental basics are the same. 

To begin, let’s navigate to PsycINFO by starting from the UM libraries homepage. Click on Databases A-Z. In the right-hand search box, type in “PsycINFO”…click on the first result. You will be directed to the PsycINFO homepage. If you’re off campus, you will be asked to login with your UM credentials.

Let’s say you are looking for literature related to the self-esteem of adolescents. We can use an AND statement to connect the main ideas of our search – self esteem and adolescents - so that the database will only return articles that contain these two terms. 

To do this, simply type in “self-esteem AND adolescents” into the search box. Note that we’ve put the word “and” in capitals. The rules for using capitals may change depending on what database you’re using, but it is good practice to use capitals to keep things organized. 

AND statements will tighten your search results, making the pool of articles smaller.  In this case, we have about 8400 results. Were we to use only “self-esteem” or “adolescents” we would likely get hundreds of thousands of results, so this is a good start. 

While AND narrows our search, we can use another operator – OR – to widen it.

Let’s say we wanted to introduce another term into our search, “self-concept.” This term has a slightly more specific meaning, but it is still related. By typing in “self-concept OR self-esteem”, we’re going to get all articles that mention these two terms – over 88, 000. This is an extremely broad search, and not very helpful right now, but we’ll return to this operator in a moment. 

The final operator – NOT– can be used to eliminate terms that we do not want to turn up in our search results.

Using the same example, we can enter something like “self-concept NOT self-esteem”, to get all of the articles that mention self-concept without mentioning self-esteem. Take note that this is a narrower search than only entering “self-concept”, because it deliberately excludes any mention of “self-esteem.”

The three operators can be helpful on their own, but are most effective when used together. You can combine AND, OR and NOT to build very specific searches. 

So let’s say that we wanted to look at something more specific – relationships between substance abuse and the self-concept of young adults.

We’ll begin by entering the first piece: “(self-concept NOT self-esteem)” in parentheses. The parentheses are necessary to keep the concepts we’re trying to connect separate from one another. This process is called nesting – it’s similar to a math formula.

Now let’s add the next component, which is the population we’re looking at – young adults. By adding "AND (adolescents)", in parentheses. We’ve constructed a search that will find all of the articles that discuss the self-concept of adolescents without mentioning self-esteem.

There is still one component left to add, however. At the end, we’ll place a final AND statement, “AND (substance abuse OR drug abuse),” in parentheses, to provide additional context for our search.
We get 176 results. Plenty of options, but not overwhelming.

This was a very simple example, and there are lots of other techniques you can use to build complex searches. Check out part two of this tutorial, Searching: Using Symbols & Quotations, or make an appointment with a librarian to learn more.

Searching: Using Symbols & Quotations

This tutorial will show you how to use wildcard symbols and quotation marks to improve your search results. For this tutorial, we will be using UML’s One Stop Search, but keep in mind you can use these techniques in any database you come across.

First, we’ll deal with wildcards. A wildcard is a special character used in a database to account for prefixes, suffixes, or alternative spellings.

For example, the word “behaviour” has both British and American spellings, each equally represented in academic literature. We may also want to capture other variations, such as “behavioral” or “behaviors.” We can use a wildcard to make sure we capture all of these arrangements at once.

To use a wildcard, substitute the part of the word that differs with the wildcard – in this case, the wild card is an asterisk.

In our example, we’ve typed “behavi*” and replaced the end of the word with an asterisk.
This will tell the database to search for everything that begins with “behavi” regardless of what comes after the asterisk. You can place the wildcard in any part of the word you’re searching. The result here is that we get over five-million hits that include all variant spellings of the word.  

Note that Google and most online databases will use an asterisk, but you may find that some will use another character. 

Now, let’s say you want to search for materials on Behavior Modification, which is a concept in psychology. A simple search of the two words will result in over 73-thousand hits, because the system will show you result for both the word “behavior” and “modification” regardless of how the words are linked. We can use quotation marks to get around this issue. If we place our search in quotation marks instead, "Behavior Modification", the system will only give us results that contain this exact phrase.

As you can see, we have cut the number of results by two-thirds, and these results are all more likely to be relevant to our search. 

You can use these searching techniques in combination with others to make your searches more efficient. Check out part one of this video, or make an appointment with a librarian to learn more. 

Narrowing Your Search

The first step in this process is navigating to the UManitoba Libraries website, at

Type in your search terms and click search.

I performed a simple search for “UFO” as an example. 

You will notice this area to the left of the search results page, titled “Refine my Results.”

Under this section is where you will narrow your results.

"Content Type" refers to the type of resource you’re looking for, and filters the results by any one of the following options: Newspaper articles, Articles, reviews, books, conference proceedings, dissertations, audio-visual material, etc.

You can also use a "Date Range." The date refers to when the item was published.

You can either change the date range using the sliding bar, manually type in a date range in the two empty boxes, or choose a date range provided. Provided date ranges also list how many resources we have in that date range.

You can limit by the "publication language." Most resources we have will be in English, but we do have access to materials written in other languages.

Lastly, directly above the “Refine my Results” area is the “Show Only” option.

Using this feature you can limit the results to only:

Articles in Peer Reviewed Journals


Full Text articles available online


Physical books available in the library

This feature can be very useful if you need peer reviewed articles for a class.

Narrowing your results using the filters on the left is one of the easiest and quickest ways to obtain more relevant search results.

Reading Call Numbers

All materials in the library have labels with unique call numbers. A call number is a code made up of letters and numbers assigned to an item based on the item’s subject. Like an address, a call number tells where a book is located in the library. Books on similar subjects, with similar call numbers, sit together.

There are two systems of call numbers in use. Books use the Library of Congress system, which starts with letters. Periodicals use the Dewey Decimal classification, which starts with numbers. 

Library of Congress uses letters and numbers to arrange materials by subject. Call numbers are read line by line. The first line beginning with one, two, or three letters, and represents a subject division. Read these letters alphabetically, for example “DC” comes before “DD.” The second line is a number of one or more digits. Read this line numerically as a whole number, for example “373” comes before “420.” The third line combines letters and numbers. Read the letters alphabetically and the numbers numerically, for example “G3” would come before “H3.” Finally you get dates, volume indicators, issue numbers, and copy numbers.

Dewey uses a combination of numbers. Every Dewey call number begins with three numbers, some with decimal numbers, followed by various letter and number combinations. Numbers to the left of the decimal point are whole numbers. Therefore, “015” comes before “150.” Read numbers to the right of the decimal point like decimals, therefore “949.61” comes before “949.65.”

Some call numbers will be preceded by a location code on the item. For example if a call number has “REF” before it, it is shelved in the Reference Collection. Or. If a number has “SLAV” before it, it is shelved in the Slavic Collection.

How to Find Peer Reviewed Sources

By default, One Stop Search looks for any articles or books based on your search terms. Sometimes, your assignments specify that you need peer reviewed sources.

Peer review means different things in different disciplines, but basically it implies that the article has gone through a rigorous review process by experts before it is deemed suitable for publication.

To find peer reviewed articles, first run a simple search in One Stop Search using terms that will bring up a list of relevant results.

In this case, we see a list of books and articles. Only journals are said to be peer reviewed, not books.

Look on the left hand side of the screen and you should see a heading that reads "Show Only," with one or more options below it. Click the one that reads "Peer-reviewed Journals." You’ll notice that it shows a number on the right hand side. This is an approximate count of results that you’ll get when you click on it. You’ll notice that it is a lower number than the results you get from a simple search. Only some of your first search’s results are from Peer-reviewed journals. 

Your results should show only articles from peer-reviewed journals now. Any of these should satisfy your academic requirements. 

Saving Possible Sources


Selecting Sources

When you run a search in One Stop Search, you’ll see a list of results. To the left of each result, you should see a small star. Clicking the star marks the result. Automatically, marked results are saved to the e-Shelf. 


Reviewing Selected Sources

When you click on e-Shelf link, at the very top right of your browser window, you can see the results you just marked. These are saved temporarily. If you sign in using your umnet id and password they will be saved permanently, or until you delete them. There are a number of things you can do with your saved results. First off, look on the right hand side of the result lists. The small bubble allows you to write a note about the item. 


Organizing Your Saved Sources

On the left hand side of the results, you can see a blank button. Click that to select the item. Once you’ve done that, you can click on the small folder icon on the left side of the screen, under the e-Shelf heading. This icon will create a new folder. You can create as many folders as you need. Name the folder whatever you like. You should see a bubble to the right hand side where you can describe the folder. Once your folder is set up, you can drag and drop your selected results into it. 

You can also use the icons to copy selected records from one folder, and paste them into another folder. This allows you to have an item in more than one folder. On the same line as the copy and paste icons, you should see scissors and an X. The scissors allow you to cut a selected record from a folder without deleting it entirely. The X icon will delete all record of the saved item. 

You can email the saved items to yourself or a colleague, print a list of items, or save them to a bibliographic management software like Refworks, EasyBib or Endnote.