Start your Research in Omni

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Omni: Rediscover Discovery

Omni is the new academic search tool that locates your research material quickly and easily. Find Omni at the top of all our library webpages, or use the links below.

Scholarly Databases

For more advanced and focused searching, try these databases to find scholarly articles in mathematics.

Database Search Tips

Starting a search in Omni is a little like starting a search in Google.  Searching in subject specific databases, such as MathSciNet or Web of Science, usually requires a little more preparation. Knowing about keyword searching, boolean operators, and database specific functions is important when searching subject specific databases. 

Keyword searching - With a keyword search you look for a word, no matter where that word appears. If you like, you can specify that the word be in a particular field (e.g. the title, author, or subject), but it can be in any position (beginning, middle, or end).

  • Think of other words which express the same concepts as those you're looking for.  Keep in mind that the system searches for the exact letters you type, and not the general ideas they express. The system doesn't think. So you have to plan for single and plural, more specific and more general terms, nouns, adjectives, and verbs, etc.

    For example, for the topic 'Modeling caribou migration in the Arctic'', the concepts and their corresponding keywords to consider may include:

    Concept 1:  Modeling - modelling or models or simulation
    Concept 2:  Caribou - reindeer or Rangifer tarandus or animal 
    Concept 3:  Migration - migratory or movement
    Concept 4:  Arctic - Alaska or Nunavut or Northwest Territories or Nunavik or Baffin Island circumpolar
  • To search for a phrase many databases require quotations marks around the words. Otherwise, the database assumes an AND between the words and will search for them separately. Keep in mind every database is different so you should check the HELP section to see how that database searches phrases.

    Eg. "Northwest Territories"
  • Truncation and wildcards are used to find variations of words.

    Truncation will find any ending for the root of a word. The truncation symbol in most journal databases is the asterisk *

    E.g. model* will find model or models or modelling

    Wildcards are used within a word, to represent any letter. This symbol varies between databases. In MathSciNet it's a *.  In the Web of Science it's a ?

    E.g. model*ing will find modeling or modelling 
  • Combining Keywords

    When you use AND, you are specifying that both terms must be found in every item found.

    E.g. model* AND caribou AND migrat* AND arctic

    When you use OR, you are specifying that items have either of the terms, but not necessarily both. Use an OR between synonymous or similar terms for a concept.

    E.g. arctic or "Northwest Territories" or Nunavut or Baffin Island

    Some databases provide search forms (usually in an Advanced search screen) so that you don't need to type in AND or OR. For those that don't, you need to place parentheses around those terms that have OR between them.

    E.g. (model* or simulat*) and (caribou or reindeer or animal*) and (migrat* or movement*) 

    Below is what this search could look like in MathSciNet.

    MathSciNet Search Screenshot


Narrowing your results

Check the database for ways to limit your results to:

  • Sort - e.g. Relevance
  • Language – e.g. English
  • Publication Type e.g. Empirical study, case study
  • Scholarly articles/Peer Reviewed articles
  • Date range

Check the record where your search terms matched. The best matches for topics are in fields like Subject or Title. Search specific fields if there is an Advanced or Expert search option.

Use Subject Headings or Descriptors if available to increase the relevancy of your results

Add another concept to your search using the Boolean operator “AND”

Research Tip:  When you find a good article, use it to find others.

  • Look at the cited references (i.e works cited or bibliography).
  • Look at the list of citing articles.  Click on "Times Cited" in the Web of Science.
  • Check for other articles written by the same author(s). Author names are hyperlinked in most databases.
  • Use the "View Related Records" function to find related articles.
  • Scan the abstract and keywords/subject headings for new terms to search.

Below is a screenshot of what the results look like in MathSciNet. Highlighted are tools you can use to modify your results - sort bysearch within results and a selection of filters such as item type, primary classification or date. Also highlighted are the Get It! Trent links which will search Omni to determine if Trent has access to the full-text of the article.  

MathScieNet Results Screenshot

Getting the Full-Text

Sometimes the database you are searching also provides full text journals. In this case you may see below or next to the citation a 'Full-Text' link to the article.

If you do not see a Full-Text link, this does not always mean we don't have the article. It may be available from another source. In this case, to determine if Trent has the full-text of an article, click on the Get It! Trent or Omni icon. This icon can be seen near each citation in a database.

Note: If you see the notation below a citation, “ Trent Library does not have this journal”, please ignore as it is not always accurate. Omni will be able to better tell you if we have the journal.

If an article is not available, you can request an InterLibrary Loan (ILL) through RACER. Keep in mind articles via ILL are not available overnight, so this service is only useful if you have enough time to receive the article before your project is due. We recommend that you allow 7-10 days. For more information and to register for an account please go to the RACER web site.


Troubleshooting Searches

Too few articles:

  • Check for typos and spelling. Consider using both American and British spellings (eg. behaviour or behavior).
  • Remove long phrases.
  • Make sure you're using a database that is likely to include information on your topic.
  • Try using other synonyms and alternate words joined by the Boolean Operator 'OR' (e.g. aboriginal or indigenous or First Nations).
  • Check your Boolean logic.  Are you using 'AND' when you should be using 'OR'?
  • If you have found at least one good article, look at the references of this article to find other related articles OR use the 'Find citing' or 'Find related' buttons when available in the databases.

Too many articles:

  • Add another concept to your searching using the Boolean operator 'AND'.
  • Add Limits (e.g. Peer Reviewed, Date of Publication, Language, Publication Type, etc.).
  • Check your Boolean logic. Are you using 'OR' when you should be using 'AND'?
  • When Keyword searching, try searching just in the Title field. This is not recommended for all searches, as you will eliminate relevant articles that don't have those keywords in the title, but it will likely find a few articles to get you started.
  • If you're searching in a database that covers all subjects (e.g. Academic Search Elite, Web of Knowledge), look for a database that is subject specific.