Skip to Main Content

Introducing Sofia: the Shared Library Search Tool

Sofia is a shared bilingual discovery tool for all academic libraries in Quebec

Basic Search

By default, the library website is set to basic search, where a single query box appears.

With this type of generic search, you may find items with keywords (subject, author, title, date of publication, editor, ISBN), using a single word or phrase with several words.

To narrow search results or to initiate a more complex search, choose the advanced search functionality, or use search filters with indexes. To find a specific publication, enter the title and author in the advanced search box.

Advanced Search

This functionality is a more complete form to specify various criteria, which appears by clicking on “Advanced Search”, under the magnifying glass icon.

Advanced search includes different boxes, where users specify their criteria, or “index”. This includes different types of information to describe an item (title, author, editor, year of publication, language, ISBN, etc.).

You may add search boxes with the “+ Add Row” button.

Click here to access the index list and definitions. Please also refer to the Index Searching section in this guide.

Advanced search includes other options:

  • Search a specific database or group of databases;
  • Narrow results to open access or scientific articles;
  • Request a specific format;
  • Specify a range of publication dates;
  • Select a branch or library .

Entry Guidelines

To avoid incomplete search results, follow these guidelines for keywords:

Case The case does not affect search results. Keywords are upper case, lower case, or a combination of both. However, Boolean operators (see below) are upper case.
Stop Words

Avoid French or English stop words (le, la, les, du, de, des, a, an, but, the, etc.) because the Sofia discovery tool does not take them into account . Use quotation marks (" ", «») for stop words that must be taken into account with the search.

Example: The = “the”.

Punctuation and Diacritical Signs Avoid punctuation or diacritical signs.
Example: é=e, à=a, ç=c, ù=u, etc.
Apostrophe (‘) Avoid apostrophes (‘) and the letter preceding them, or omit the apostrophe and space between the words preceding and following the apostrophe. To include all variations, link both options with a Boolean OR.
Example: for l’Étranger, enter etranger OR letranger
Figures Figures may be entered in numerals or letters.

Use hyphens (-) or replace hyphens with a space.

Example: sans-abri, sans abri

Liaison Librarian

Profile Photo
David Greene
Humanities & Social Sciences Library

Liaison Librarian

Profile Photo
Clara Turp
3459 McTavish Street Montreal, Quebec
H3A 0C9

McGill LibraryQuestions? Ask us!
Privacy notice