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Novanet Search Tips

A few helpful tips that could help improve your Novanet search results.

PLEASE NOTE:
A new version of Novanet was launched on May 17, 2022, and includes new features and changes, including:
 
New search scope options: you can decide on the scope of your search by specifying whether you wish to search:
 
  • Everything: search the MtA physical collections and physical collections of other Novanet Libraries + MtA library databases     
  • Articles and more: search all MtA library databases
  • Novanet Catalogue: search the physical collections of all Novanet Libraries, including MtA
  • Mount Allison: search only the physical collections at MtA
  • Course Reserve: search items placed on course reserve by your professors
Default search scope:
 
  • Everything: search the MtA physical collections and physical collections of other Novanet Libraries + MtA library databases
Expanded coverage of library databases:
 
  • Novanet now searches all MtA databases

Search Type:

Advanced Search now permits you to specify whether search results include items that contain, start with or have an exact match for the keywords you provide.  There are three Search Type options:

  • is (exact):  returns results that contain phrases that exactly match the phrases specified in the query.
  • contains – returns results that contain all words in the phrase, but the words may be in a different order and may not be as close together.
  • starts with – Returns results that contain words that start with the specified string (available for Title searches only).  
A few other things to note: 
When performing an Author/Creator search and your search query includes the author's last name and first initial (e.g. morrison t), the search is expanded to exclude the first initial. If a record is found with the first initial, it can receive a higher ranking than those records that do not have it.
 
If your query includes operators (AND, OR, NOT) connecting phrases in which one or both of the phrases contain multiple words, Novanet will use parentheses to group the words in each multiple-word phrase. For example, Anne Shirley OR Montgomery will convert to (Anne Shirley) OR Montgomery to distinguish it from the following query: Anne (Shirley OR Montgomery).
 

Sign in

Sign in to Novanet to see the full list of Novanet search results.  It is possible to search Novanet without signing in but search results may be different.
To log into your Novanet account, click the My Account / Renew Books link on the main page of the Library website, or go to mta.novanet.ca and click on Sign In.  
 
Please note that sign-in procedures have changed:
 
  • For MtA Students, staff, faculty:  Sign in using the same username and password you use for your MtA email, Connect and Moodle.   
  • Community patrons:  If you know your user name (barcode number) you can use the “Forgot my Password” link to create a new password.  
For help signing in, including re-setting your password, simply contact Access Services at circ@mta.ca or 364-2568.
 

Simple, Advanced and Browse Searching

 
Simple
Use simple search to quickly search by keyword or keywords. 
Examples:
robinson monkey beach
robinson AND monkey beach
Both of these searches will find the novel Monkey Beach by Eden Robinson

Note: Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT), if used, must be typed in upper case letters.  Details below.
 
Advanced
Use advanced search for more complex searches.  The Advanced search form allows you to combine search terms and to specify in what field (such as title or author/creator) you wish keyword(s) to be found.   
 
As described under Search Type above, you can also specify how Novanet handles your keywords by selecting “contains,” “is (exact),” or “starts with” from a drop-down menu.  
 
By default, Novanet searches for items that “contain” your search terms.
 
Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT) may be used by selecting from the drop-down menu at the left of each search row and may by typed (in UPPER CASE letters) within the search boxes.
 
Example:
Row 1: Robinson AND monkey beach
Row 2: [AND selected from drop-down menu] indigenous literature
 
Browse
A Browse search allows you to browse a list of items by Call Number, title, author or subject heading.  This type of search is best used when you are searching for a particular Call Number, title, author or subject.
 
Examples:
 
Browse by Call Number: PS 8585 .O353 M66 1999
 
Browse by Title: monkey beach
 
Browse by Author (or Creator): robinson eden [type last name first]
 
Browse by Subject:
Subject searches use Library of Congress SUBJECT HEADINGS. These are standardized headings assigned to a book (or other item) to describe what the book is about. A single book may have one or, more likely, several different Subject Headings. Author and creator names may be used to search by Subject. 
 
Example:
 
Browse by Subject: carr emily [type last name first]
 
Other subject headings can be less intuitive. 
 
Example: Climatic changes -- Social aspects
 
Tip: Because subject headings work pretty much the same way tags work on social media, it can be helpful to begin with a keyword search and then, once you have found an item(s) of interest, make note of any Subject Headings you think may help you discover other books on the same or similar topic. You can then:
 
  •  Perform Browse by Subject searches using the subject headings you have identified, or
  • Click on a Subject to find more items with the same Subject Heading (the same way you can click on a tag to find more photos of puppies or kittens).
A note about Browse Searching: 
Browse searching in Novanet works a little differently than Keyword searching in Novanet.  
 
A Keyword search can, depending on the search scope selected, return results for all Novanet libraries, regardless of whether items are available at Mount A.  
     
A Browse search returns results for items held at Mount Allison, which may also happen to be available at other Novanet libraries.  
 
Sort Your Search Results
 
Search results are sorted automatically by “relevance” according to Novanet’s relevance algorithm.  Results may be re-sorted by date (newest to oldest or oldest to newest), author, or title.
 
Tweak Your Results
 
There are various ways to tweak your Novanet search results .  Because Novanet searches multiple sources, you may see an overwhelming number of results for your initial search. Use the filters on the Search Results screen to refine your results by availability, resource type, library, date and more.
 
Phrase Searching   
 
To search for an exact phrase, enclose the phrase with double quotation marks. 
 
Example:
 
A search for the phrase “Canadian foreign policy” will return items that include this exact phrase. 
 
Selecting Search Type “Is (exact)” can also be used when searching for an exact phrase.  
 
Truncation Symbol
 
A truncation symbol is a character used in place of a letter or letters in a search term to help capture items with variant forms of a word. 
 
In Novanet, the truncation symbol is the asterisk: *. 
 
Example:
 
A search for canad* will retrieve search results with items containing the word Canada, Canadian, Canadians, Canadiana, canadien, etc. 
 
Searching With Multiple Search Terms
 
Novanet allows you to construct complex searches using Boolean operators. 
 
What’s a Boolean operator?  The most common ones are AND, OR, NOT.  Here’s how they work (and note that they need to be typed in upper case letters):
 
AND:
 
Use the AND operator to find items containing all of the specified search terms. For example, if you search for "dogs AND cats", Novanet retrieves items containing all of the specified terms.
 
OR:
 
Use the OR operator to find items matching any or all of the specified terms. For example, if you search for "dogs OR cats", Novanet retrieves items containing the first search term or the second or both.
 
NOT:
 
Use the NOT operator to find items containing the first search term but not the second. For example, if you search for "dogs NOT cats", Novanet locates records containing the first search term (dogs) but not the second (cats).
 
Boolean operators can be selected using the drop-down menus on the Advanced Search page.  They may also be used on the Simple Search page and the Advanced Search page by typing the chosen operator in upper case letters (as in the examples above). 
 
Options Available in the Search Results List
 
Find Sources Citing This
 
Click the upwards arrow icon to see a list of items citing a given item.  Note that this option is not available for every item in Novanet.   
 
Citation
 
Click the quotation mark icon to generate a formatted citation for an item.  Available citation styles are: APA (6th edition), MLA (8th and 7th editions), Chicago/Turabian (16th edition), and Harvard. 
 
It’s always a good idea to double-check a citation created by any citation generator. 
 
Please note: at the time of this writing the current edition of APA is 7th, MLA 9th, and Chicago 17th.  Citation formatting options reflecting these updated editions will become available in Novanet soon.  
 
Email
 
Click the envelope icon to email a Novanet record. 
 
Add this Item
 
Click the pin icon to add an item to your “favourites” list.  Items in the list may then be emailed or printed. 
 
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