Skip to Main Content
Banner image for Mount Allison University Libraries and ArchivesBanner image link to Mount Allison UniversityMount Allison University Libraries and ArchivesImage Map
Hours | Libraries Home | Music Library | University Archives

Novanet Search Tips

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

Sign in

Sign in to Novanet to see the full list of Novanet search results (some databases only show results when you're signed in).  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

The best login is your 7-digit student, faculty or staff number, with the zero at the beginning. Your password is a 4-digit PIN. The new system re-set your PIN to the last four digits of your phone number. If this PIN isn't working, please contact Access Services to re-set it.

Patrons with community borrower cards will continue to use their barcodes to log in (numbers printed underneath barcode on Novanet cards or older Mount Allison community borrower and alumni cards), plus their 4-digit PIN.

You can use these same login credentials for Relais, our interlibrary loan system, to request books from outside Novanet libraries.

Keep in mind that even when signed in, Novanet does not search certain databases, including EBSCO databases and LexisNexis.  Details.   

Simple, Advanced and Browse Searching


Use simple search to quickly search by keyword or keywords. 


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.


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 a keyword to be found.  Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT) may be used by selecting from the drop-down menu at the left of each row and may by typed (in upper case letters) within the search boxes.


Row 1: Robinson AND monkey beach

Row 2: [AND selected from drop-down menu] indigenous literature


A Browse search allows you to browse a list of titles, authors or subject headings that corresponds to the information you provide.  This type of search is best used when you are searching for a particular title, author or subject.


Browse by Title: monkey beach

Browse by Author: robinson eden [type last name first]

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. 


Browse by Subject: carr emily

Other subject headings can be less intuitive. 

Example: Climatic changes -- Social aspects

However, because subject headings work pretty much the same way tags work on social networking or photo sharing sites, it is sometimes useful to begin searching by keyword and then, once you have found an item(s) of interest, you can view the record for the item and click on a subject heading to find other books on the same or similar topic (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 returns 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.    

Expand Your Search

Novanet searches most of Mount Allison Libraries’ collections plus most of the holdings of other Novanet libraries.  Check the “expand search beyond my library” box to include in your results lists additional resources that may not be available at 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), author, or title.

Limit Options

There are various ways to limit Novanet searches.  Because Novanet searches multiple sources, you may see an overwhelming number of results for your initial search. Use the filters on the left side of the screen to refine your results by format, date, availability online, peer-reviewed, library location and more.

Phrase Searching 

To search for an exact phrase, enclose the phrase with double quotation marks. 


A search for the phrase “Canadian foreign policy” will return items that include this exact phrase. 

Truncation Symbol

What’s a truncation symbol?  It’s 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: *. 


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):


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.


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.


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", the Catalogue 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). 

Full Text Searching

Novanet does not search the full text of books, articles or other items.  In most cases, Novanet searches words found in particular fields of the database or catalogue records describing an item, including the Title, Author/Creator, and Abstract fields.  The specific fields searched may vary from database to database. 

Full text searching (searches that search the full text of articles and other items) is possible in many of the databases accessible on the A-Z List of Databases


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. 


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 1. 

It’s always a good idea to double-check a citation created by any citation generator. 


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. 



JavaScript disabled or chat unavailable.

Book an appointment with a librarian

Librarians are available to meet with you by phone or online.