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The Re(Searching) Process: The Re(Searching) Process

This guide was created to help high school students, new CBU students, and community members with searching for resources (with open access and open education), evaluating various resources, and building citation skills (using MLA).

Narrowing Your Re(search) Topic

Searching with CBU Library: Novanet

To find open access resources in CBU library's search engine, Novanet, type what you want to search into the search box. 

Example: women AND "Social Justice"

When we type in the example above, the library pulls up 13,107 results. As high school students and community members, you won't have access to all of these resources. To access only open access resources you would go to the filter on the left side of the page and select under Availability "Open Access". 

When we do this, our results narrow down to 2,203 results that are open access. Now you can apply more filters to your search to narrow and broaden your search. 

Searching with Google Scholar

When trying to find resources (articles and books) through Google Scholar, you can still use boolean operators, phrase searching and filters to narrow your searches. 

Most articles found in Google Scholar come with an abstract; some may have free full text. This is especially important if you're not associated with a library.  To find freely available full text, you can:

  1. Look for [DOC], [PDF], or [HTML] on the result list. Click to load the full text.
  2. If you don't see a full text option, look for "All versions" - there may be a full text version there.
  3. If you still have not found full text, look for the "Related articles" to see if an article on the same topic is available in full text.

Boolean Operators

Act as commands which tells the search engine/database what to provide and what not to provide. There are three different types: AND, NOT, OR. Remember to use all caps when typing out these Boolean operators.


  • Narrows search results
  • Tells the search engine that all words and phrases must be present in the resources that the results provide


  • Narrows search results
  • Tells the search engine to exclude words and phrases that may be applied to the results


  • Broadens search results
  • Tells the search engine that any words and/or phrases can be present in the results

Example: "language revitalization" AND Mi'kmaq

Phrase Searching

When searching for a specific phrase, use quotation marks "____" around that phrase, otherwise, the search engine will do a search for each word. A phrase can also be a title or an author's name.

Examples: "William Shakespeare"


Filters are typically found on the left side of the screen once you type what you want to find in the search engine. They can help narrow and broaden your results. They can include: 

  • Availability ( access)
  • Date of Creation
  • Subject
  • Resource Type (e.g. books, articles, reference, etc.)
  • AND much more!