/   Library   /   Help & how-to   /   Finding   /   Books

How to find books

Sofia Discovery tool

Whether you are searching for a particular book or for books on a subject, the Sofia Discovery tool is where you should begin. There are 2 ways to access the Sofia Discovery tool on the website:

The Sofia Discovery tool is on the library website home page and under the Find menu.

Tip: No matter where you are on the Library’s website, you’ll see the search box in the header of the page. Use it to run a simple catalogue search from any page.

The Sofia Discovery tool can help you find print books and e-books, as well as theses, encyclopedias, dictionaries, videos and more.

Back to top

Searching in the Sofia Discovery tool

Enter keywords in the search box to run a simple search in the Sofia Discovery tool.

Sofia Discovery tool simple search screen

There are a few way to make your search more complex. Either you can follow the link to the Advanced Search page (just below the search box), or you can use some of the following notations:

  • “greenhouse effect” for results where the words are side-by-side
  • “greenhouse effect” OR “greenhouse gases” for results that include either phrase
  • (“greenhouse effect” OR “greenhouse gases”) AND (ecosystem OR animals) for results that include one phrase from each group
  • (“greenhouse effect*” OR “greenhouse gas*) AND (ecosystem* OR animal*) to retrieve all words that start with those letters
greenhouse effect OR greenhouse gases keyword search in Sofia Discovery tool

Advanced Search lets you use all of those notations, and also search particular fields (e.g. Author). You can use each search box for a different word or phrase.

Advanced search using Author index in Sofia Discovery tool

You can also set limits on date, location or format.

Advanced search screen search tools to limit by date or format in Sofia Discovery tool
Back to top

Getting books

From the Sofia Discovery tool to the shelf

Click on any title in your list of results for more information, such as the book’s location in the library, call number and availability.

Availability information for books in access options in Sofia Discovery tool Availability information for books in Sofia Discovery tool

“Available” means that your book is available for you to borrow. The call number is the address of the book within the library. A call number always starts with one or two letters followed by numbers (ex: TJ 163.2). To find your book, look for the letters first, and then the numbers. Go to the library floor indicated under "location" and pay attention to the letters on the end of the shelves. They are organized alphabetically. Once you found the shelf corresponding to your book's call number, follow the numbers until you retrieve it.

Tip: The books in the library are grouped by subject. Browsing the shelves around an interesting book can help you find related books on the same topic.

If the book you are looking for is already checked out, you can place a request for it. You can also place a request to have a book delivered from the Webster Library to the Vanier Library or vice versa. Learn more about requests.

If you are unable to find your book on the shelves, try these solutions:

  • Verify if you wrote down the correct call number and location.
  • Check the availability of your book to make sure it is currently in the library.
  • Place a request on the book.
  • Ask for help at the reference or information desks.
Back to top
Back to top arrow up, go to top of page