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Bishop's Resource Guide: Using Sofia

Research Subject Guides that will help you get access resources relevant to that subject.

What is Sofia?

In our partnership with the Bureau de coopération interuniversitaire (BCI) and all other academic libraries in Quebec, Bishop's University Library Learning Commons brings you our new Discovery tool, SofiaSofia is a Shared Services Platform that allows for a unified catalogue throughout all Quebec's academic libraries.  Not only can you use Sofia to search for resources here at Bishop's but you can easily access more than 20 million resources from the other 17 partnered libraries.

Searching with Sofia

Basic Search

Basic Search is the default search box you see on our Library homepage.


Basic Search is a generic search.  Using Basic Search you may find items with keywords you search with.

After searching your terms, you can use the limiters on the left-hand side of the screen to narrow down your results.

If you are getting too many results or want to create a more specific search use Sofia's Advanced Search.

Advanced Search

Advanced Search allows you to search more specifically and complexly.  You can use Advanced Search by clicking on “Advanced Search”, under the magnifying glass icon.


Advanced search allows you to search your terms in specific fields/indexes, which allows for a more specific search.  Users may specify their search criteria by clicking the drop-down menu on under "Search Index".

If you need more search boxes, you can add them by clicking “+ Add Row” button.

Advanced Search includes other options:

  • Search a specific database or group of databases
  • Narrow results to open access or scientific articles
  • Search for a specific format
  • Search for a specific range of publication dates
  • Limit results to a specific branch or library

Searching for Print Books

Searching for eBooks

More information coming soon!

More information coming soon!

Course Reserves

You can access Course Reserves from our Library home page or within Sofia

To access the course reserves section in the discovery tool Sofia, click on the “Course Reserves” tab in the dark strip under the Sign In button.


This section usually includes recommended or mandatory material for a course. You may find items with the following criteria:

  • Course acronym (SOC 100, ECO 217, BAC 122)
  • Course prefix  (PSY, ENG, HIS, SOC, etc.)
  • Course name (Microeconomics, Criminology, Women and Penal System)
  • Name of professor/lecturer

Click on the course to view related material. The item’s location, call number and description are displayed.

More information coming soon!

Boolean Operators (AND, OR, NOT) (ET, OU, SAUF)

Boolean operators (AND/ET/+, OR/OU, NOT/SAUF/-) are inserted between keywords in a search box or between search boxes to include or exclude certain words or phrases.

Boolean operators must be in UPPERCASE for Sofia to recognize them.

Keywords and their Boolean operators are processed left to right.




Narrows search results by returning only items that include both words/ phrases connected through the operator.
Example: photography AND war

* If no other operator is entered in the search box, a Boolean AND is by default inserted between the words.



Broadens search results by returning items that include either word/phrase connected through the operator.
Example: cellular OR smartphone




Reduces search results by excluding items that include the word/phrase after the operator.
Example: “renewable energy” NOT hydroelectricity

For more information on Boolean operators, click here.

Quotation Marks

Use English (" ") or French (« ») quotation marks to find an exact phrase or the closest words.


  • "Social Media"
  • "Indigenous Women"
  • «Philippe Aubert de Gaspé»


An asterisk (*) isolates the root of a word to include all variations or words from the same family. This generally increases search results.

Note: You must have a minimum of three characters preceding the asterisk (*).


  • Petrol* = petrol, pétrole, pétrolier, pétrolière, pétrolate, pétrolatum, petroleum, etc.

The question mark substitutes several letters (9 maximum).


  • Encyclop?dia = encyclopedia, encyclopaedia


A pound sign/hashtag (#) or question mark (?) substitutes one or several variable letters in a word. Wildcards broaden search results.

The pound sign/hashtag (#) substitutes only one letter.

Note: You must have a minimum of three characters preceding the pound sign/hashtag (#) or question mark (?).


  • Thes#s = thesis, theses, thèses
  • Wom#n = woman, women
  • The question mark substitutes several letters (9 maximum).


  • Encyclop?dia = encyclopedia, encyclopaedia


For more information on truncation or wildcards, click here.


Specify the order in which Boolean operators are applied to group keywords. Once the search is launched, Sofia interprets the words and operators in brackets first and interprets the words and operators outside the brackets last.


  • (itinéran* OR sans-abri OR homeless*) AND (adolescent* OR teenage*)

Accessing Your Account

Step 1: Click Advanced Search.  If you are on Library's home page Advanced Search is located under the Sofia's magnify glass search button.

Step 2: Click the ‘Sign In’ button in the upper right corner of the browser.

Step 3: You will be presented with a page where you must select your login method. Bishop's students must select "LOGIN WITH A BISHOP'S USER NAME AND PASSWORD (FOR BISHOP'S STUDENTS ONLY)". Faculty, staff and community members must select "LOGIN WITH A BARCODE (FOR ALL OTHER BORROWERS)".

Step 4: 
If you select the student login method you will be redirected to a sign in page at your institution. Enter your Bishop's user name and password.  After logging in, you will be redirected back to the discovery search.
The barcode login method requires that users set a password before logging in for the first time.
To do this:
  • Click the ‘SET/RESET PASSWORD’ button.
  • Enter your barcode in the ‘User Name’ box and click the ‘REQUEST NEW PASSWORD’ button. A link to a password creation page will be emailed to the address in the library account. Please note the password criteria at the top of the page.
  • After creating your password, you will now be able to log in using your barcode and password on the sign in page.

Step 5: Once signed in, your name will now appear in the upper right corner. Clicking on your name will prompt a drop-down menu to appear. You will be able to access your account information by clicking "My Account".

To see what you have checked out, you need to sign in to your account and click ‘My Account’.
  • Checked Out: This is where you can see the items currently checked out to you, along with their due dates. Items can be sorted and renewed by clicking Renew Items.

To see what you have placed on hold, you need to sign in to your account and click ‘My Account’.
  • Requested: Requests or Holds you have placed on titles are listed on the Requested tab. Your holds can be sorted as well as cancelled by clicking Cancel Requests or edited by clicking Edit Request.

To see what you have placed on hold, you need to sign in to your account and click ‘My Account’
  • Fees: Any fines owed to the Library can be seen under the Fees tab. Charges can be sorted and fees paid by clicking Pay Fees.

To edit your profile, you need to sign in to your account and click ‘My Account’
  • Profile: Under the Profile tab, you can add an alternate email to receive Library notifications from that include status notifications about your requests, library fees and more.  You can also choose to add in a phone number to receive text message notifications.  Under the Profile tab, you can also change your password.


Today's Library Hours

Need Help?

Reference librarians are available to help Bishop's students and faculty with their research!
Check the Library's Research Assistance hours (above) and come by the Library Service Desk located on the main floor of the LLC.
During Research Assistance hours, you can also chat with us using the LibChat box on this page or on our Library Home Page!
Contact us:
   Telephone: (819) 822-9600 ext. 2608
   Text: (819) 201-0345