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A Guide to Omni

A guide to Omni, an academic search tool that gives you access to information resources from McMaster and other participating Ontario university libraries.

Search Results

When Omni searches generate a list of results, you can personalize, expand, and/or focus these results by using the features and filters found in or near the Modify your results: column. Options will vary depending on the search scope selected.

Personalize

Omni has an option to Personalize search results which boosts the rankings of items that match your preferred disciplines.

This type of ranking can be helpful for ambiguous searches, where search results come from a variety of disciplines or include a large set of articles. It does not replace subjects or act as a filter. It simply adjusts the ranking algorithm to your selected disciplines.

On a search results list ...

  • Select the Personalize slider button that appears above the list of resultsPersonlize slider button in Omni
  • In the Personalize the results box, select up to five disciplines and click Personalize it!

Personalize the results box in Omni

  • Personalized! slider button in OmniOnce Personalized!, the discipline selections will be displayed at the top of the left column above Modify your results. Edit disciplines as necessary.
    Personalized results in Omni

NOTE: The discipline selections can be retained between sessions if you Sign in to Omni, otherwise, the discipline selections will only be retained during the active session.

 

 

Add results beyond McMaster's Collection

Add results beyond McMaster's Collection slider buttonSelecting Add results beyond McMaster's Collection will expand your search to include resources that are not immediately available in full text, but may be acquired upon request (typically through Interlibrary Loan). This option is useful when you require more comprehensive results.

NOTE: This option includes resources from Omni's CDI (Central Discovery Index) which encompasses tens of millions of records harvested from primary and secondary publishers and aggregators.

Sort by

Results are automatically sorted by relevance. Sort by options in Omni

To change the default sort order, choose one of the following options from the drop-down Sort by menu. NOTE: Relevance ranking is lost when a different sort order is selected.

Relevance* [default] - a proprietary algorithm that should bring the most relevant items to the top of the list

Date-newest - date of publication, newest first

Date-oldest - date of publication, oldest first

Title - alphabetical by title

Author - alphabetical by a person's surname or an organization's name

*Relevance is based on the frequency of matching search words, hierarchy of words in the record, proximity of search words to one another, a value score (query words in author, title, subject, date), plus other criteria.

Filters ⌄

There are up to 13 categories (or facets) of filters that can be used to focus or refine your search results. NOTE: Not all filters will be available for all search results.

One or more filters can be applied to your search results.

To include or exclude a single filter at a time:

  • Selecting single filter in OmniExpand a category (e.g., Language) and hover over the name of a filter (e.g., English) until a checkbox appears to its left.
  • To include in your results, click on the name of the filter (e.g., English) and the selection will be applied immediately.
  • To exclude from your results, click on the red icon to the right of the filter (i.e., a checkmark with a strikethrough) and its removal will be applied immediately.

To include/exclude multiple filters at a time:

  • Selecting multiple filtes in OmniExpand a category (e.g., Resource Type) and hover over the name of a filter (e.g., Articles) until a checkbox appears to its left. Click in this checkbox to activate checkboxes for all filters.
  • To include in your results, select the checkboxes on the left side of filters. The checkboxes on the left will turn green when marked for inclusion (e.g., Available online, Peer-Reviewed, Articles).
  • To exclude from your results, select the icon on the right side of filters (i.e., a checkmark with a strikethrough). The checkboxes on the left will turn red when marked for exclusion (e.g., Book Chapters, Books).
  • To change an inclusion to an exclusion (and vice versa), hover and move to the right side of the selected filter and pick the relevant icon Change filter selections in Omni to adjust the selection.
  • To deselect a filter altogether, uncheck the box on the left. To deselect all filters at once, select Reset Filters at the top of the Modify your results column.
  • When all your selections are complete, select the Apply Filters button.

To learn more about the filters available in Omni, scroll through the options below or pick one from the left navigation list in this guide.

Availability

Availability identifies the format or characteristic of items retrieved.Availability filters in Omni

Search results can be modified through inclusion or exclusion of one or more of these filters.

 Available Online is online content that is primarily accessible to McMaster users only (i.e., requires authentication). Some online content may also be open access.

 Peer-Reviewed (also known as Refereed) is content that has gone through an academic peer-review process. NOTE: The Peer-Reviewed filter in Omni applies to the entire publication, not necessarily to every item in that publication. For example, some items that are published in scholarly journals (such as book reviews and editorials) are not typically peer-reviewed, but will remain in the results. As such, pay close attention to the items retrieved with this filter. You may need to review and verify an item's peer-reviewed status outside of Omni. Consult this peer-review guide for more information.

Open Access is online content that is freely available and accessible to anyone (i.e., requires no authentication). NOTE: The Open Access filter in Omni applies to the individual item retrieved (usually an article). This content may also be peer-reviewed.

Available in McMaster Libraries refers to materials in printed format such as books & maps and to other physical resources such as DVDs, CDs, vinyl records, microfilm, microfiche and more.

Resource Type

Resource Type filters in OmniResource Type identifies the types of information sources appearing in your search results.

The filters in this category are listed by frequency and according to your current search.

Search results can be modified through inclusion or exclusion of one or more of these filters.

Resource types can be in any format (physical or online)* and can include ...

  • Archival Materials
  • Articles**
  • Audio
  • Books
  • Book Chapters
  • Conference Proceedings
  • Datasets
  • Images
  • Journals***
  • Maps
  • Newsletter Articles
  • Newspapers
  • Reference Entries (such as from an encyclopedia)
  • Reports
  • Reviews
  • Scores
  • Standards
  • Theses & Dissertations
  • Videos
  • and more!

NOTES:
* To limit resource types by format (print/physical or online), use the filters in the Availability category. For example, to limit results to eBooks, select Books under Resource Type plus Available online under Availability.
** The Articles filter does not include newspaper articles. To find articles within newspapers, click Newspapers search > from the Resource Type category.
*** The Journals filter can also include magazines and other serial publications (e.g. yearbooks, annual reports).

Date of Publication

Date of Publication filter in OmniThe Date of Publication can be used to display items that were published within a set range of time. This is useful if you're looking for recently published materials or if there is a date restriction on your assignment.

Enter a range of years in the Date of Publication boxes and click Refine.

Subject & Medical Subject (MeSH)

Subject filter in OmniMedical Subject (MeSH) filter in OmniSubject and Medical Subject (MeSH) identify the subjects or topics of items appearing in your search results.

The filters in these categories are listed by frequency and according to your current search.

Search results can be modified through inclusion or exclusion of one or more of the filters in these categories.

 

Author/Creator

Author/Creator filter in OmniAuthor/Creator identifies the principal authors, corporations, organizations, and government agencies associated with the items in your search results.

The filters in this category are listed by frequency and according to your current search.

Search results can be narrowed through inclusion or exclusion of one or more of these filters.

Libraries & Location

Library and Location filters in OmniThe libraries and location filters identify where print and other physical resources in your search results are housed.

The filters in these categories are listed by frequency and according to your current search.

Search results can be modified through inclusion or exclusion of one or more of the filters in these categories.

 McMaster Libraries identifies the library or facility at McMaster that houses the physical resources in your results.

McMaster Location identifies the area within the library or facility at McMaster where the physical resources in your results are located.

Other Omni Libraries identifies which of the 17 other Omni partner libraries own the physical resources in your results. This can include Algoma, Brock, Carleton, Guelph, Lakehead,  Laurentian,  Nipissing, OCAD, Ontario Tech, Ottawa, Queen's, Trent, Waterloo, Western, Wilfrid Laurier and York.

Language

Language filter in OmniLanguage identifies the publication language of the items appearing in your search results.

The filters in this category are listed by frequency and according to your current search.

Search results can be modified through inclusion or exclusion of one or more of these filters.

Database

Database filter in OmniDatabase identifies which databases, publishers or vendors are associated with the items retrieved in your search results.

The filters in this category are listed by frequency and according to your current search.

Search results can be modified through inclusion or exclusion of one or more of these filters.

Once you know a database contains useful information on your topic, you may want to explore it separately. Searching a specific database outside of Omni will typically provide more search options, limits and targeted results.

Publication Title

Publication Title filter in OmniThe Publication Title identifies the publications (usually journal & magazine titles) associated with the items (typically articles) retrieved in your search results.

The filters in this category are listed by frequency and according to your current search.

Search results can be modified through inclusion or exclusion of one or more of these filters.

Recently Added

Recently Added filter in OmniRecently Added identifies items that have recently been added to Omni in the last 3 months, last month or last week. These items may be published from any year, not necessarily the most current.

NOTE: To see recently added items at McMaster Libraries only, select one of these search scopes - McMaster Libraries (Catalogue & Articles+) or McMaster Libraries (Catalogue only) - from the Simple Search drop-down menu or the Advanced Search screen.

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