the catalogue of the DFO libraries and repository of DFO publications

Search WAVES for books, reports, government documents, theses, conference proceedings and journal titles.

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If you need help searching WAVES, please keep reading!

Searching WAVES

Search Tips

Enter keywords that you want to find, in any order. You do not need to enter words such as the, a, an, and, of, etc.

Enter keywords in upper or lower case letters, with or without accents.

Use special characters to retrieve variations of words. These can be used at the beginning, middle, or end of a word, and allow you to retrieve plural forms of nouns and variant spellings. The asterisk * stands for any number of characters, and the question mark ? stands for exactly one character.

  • whal* finds the terms whale, whales, and whaling

  • *culture finds the terms aquaculture, aquiculture and mariculture

  • aqu?culture finds the terms aquaculture and aquiculture

  • harb*r finds the terms harbour and harbor

Simple Search

Type the words you wish to search into the search box. If you enter more than one word, the system looks for ALL the words you have typed in these fields: personal author, corporate author, title, subject or name of a series. You can choose whether to search only for monographs (that is, books and reports) or journals, or both.

Advanced Search

You can do a more complex search on the Advanced Search screen. Begin your search by deciding what you wish to search for (authors, titles, etc.), and how you would like your search terms to be related. You can also restrict your search to specific formats, dates, libraries, publication types or languages.

Select your search field

In the leftmost drop down menu, select the field where you think your search term will be found, such as author, title, series, etc. If you have subject keywords in mind but aren't sure where they are likely to appear, select the Subject field, which will search words in the title, subject, series and abstract areas of the WAVES record.

Searchable Fields

Authors - Personal or corporate names, or names of conferences. To narrow down a search for a common last name such as Smith, you may add initials, for example: "Smith, P". Use only initials for the author's first names.

Titles - Any form of an item's title, such as title, subtitle, conference title, variant title

Subject - A term describing the subject matter of an item. When looking for items on a particular topic, enter subject terms in this field.

Species Name - Common name of a species in English and/or French as well as the scientific name.

CATNO - A number that identifies a record in the WAVES online catalogue.

If you click on any of the drop down boxes, you will see some additional search fields:

Call Number - A unique location code for each library item, found on the spine of a book, for example: QL 123 .C37 1988

Special Collection - A code assigned by the libraries for items belonging to a special collection, for example: ELC refers to the Employee Learning Centre collections found in some libraries. DFO indicates an item authored by or for someone at DFO

Imprint - Publishing information, such as publisher, and date and place the item was published

ISBN - International Standard Book Number; a unique number assigned by a publisher to identify a book

ISSN - International Standard Serial Number; a unique number assigned by a publisher to identify a periodical publication

Item Id - The barcode label number found on the front cover of library materials; to be scanned when signing out a book

Number - Any other number found on a publication. For example, for the Canadian electrical code, enter the standard number: C22.1-09

Series - The name of series that an item might be part of, such as Canadian technical report of fisheries and aquatic sciences.

Select your connectors

In the second drop down menu, choose how you would like your words to be related.

ALL of the terms - If you would like to find records that contain all of the words you have entered, for example, if you want to find items that are about both cod and salmon, select ALL of the terms, and enter cod and salmon in the subject field. You will get less than 100 hits. This is the default for most searches.

ANY of the terms - If you would like to find records that contain any of the words you have entered, select this connector. For example, if you would like to find records that contain either the word cod or the word salmon, select ANY of the terms, and enter cod and salmon. You will get over 15,000 hits. Use this connector as well when you are searching alternate forms of words (e.g., arctic or polar, aboriginal or native, coldwater or cold water).

Exact Phrase - If you have a specific phrase that you would like to search for, such as "catch and release", select Exact Phrase and type the term exactly as you would expect to find it. Use this feature carefully as you can miss useful records. For example, in the Authors field, when you type Smith, P. and use the Exact Phrase connector, you will find only records by P. Smith, and you will miss all the records where the author wrote as P.J. Smith.

NONE of the terms - If you would like to exclude certain items from your search, for example, you want items about aquaculture in Canada, but are not interested in items about salmon culture, enter aquaculture and Canada in the first Subject box, select Subject from the menu by the next box, then select AND NOT, and enter salmon. Use this feature with care. For example, this search would exclude any items with the word salmon, even if other species that may interest you are also mentioned in that item.

Restrict Your Search

In the Restrict To area, you can limit your search to certain libraries, publication types, formats, dates or languages.

Library - If you are interested in the collection of a specific DFO library, you can limit your search to that library.

Publication Type - If you wish to look only for books or reports, select Monographs; if only for periodicals, select Journals. Your search will be restricted to either publication type, in any physical format.

Format - You may limit your search by the physical format of an item. For example, you may search for items only available on the Internet, or in video format.

Year - You may limit your search to items published in a particular year, or items published before or after a certain year.

Language - You may wish to restrict your search to items in French or English.

Index Search

If you're not sure of the correct form or spelling of the term you are searching for, you can select the Index Search from the left side menu and browse a list of possible terms used in the catalogue:

  • From the dropdown menu, select the index you wish to browse.
  • Type in the term you are looking for.
  • Tick one or more terms in the list that appears.
  • Click on the Search button in the upper left corner of the list to have WAVES search any of the terms you ticked. For example, if you aren't sure whether Paul Smith wrote as P. Smith, P.W. Smith or P.W.P. Smith, you can type in Smith, P and then select all three variations of the name and WAVES will search for them all.

Thesaurus Search

If you wish to be positive that you find everything there is in WAVES about a particular species, or that is in a certain series, or that is by a particular corporate body, you may use the Thesaurus Search option on the left menu. These three fields use what is known as a controlled vocabulary. For example, some authors may have used the term Atlantic cod, others may have used northern cod, or simply cod in the title or abstract of an item. To be sure to find everything in WAVES on the subject of this species:

  • Select Species from the drop down menu.
  • Type in cod, or Atlantic cod, or northern cod and click on the Search button. No matter which term you use, WAVES will tell you that the correct form of the name is Gadus morhua.
  • Tick Gadus morhua in the list and click on the Search button. WAVES will find all the items about this species, regardless of which term the author used on the item.

Search History

Want to go back to a previous search? Select Search History from the left menu, and tick the search you would like to repeat. You may tick more than one search and combine them by selecting And, Or or Not from the Search Criteria box.

Display Marked

Use the tick boxes beside each title in the Results list to display all or some of the results. If you choose to display more than 100 records, you will be shown the records in groups of 100.

Print Marked

Use the tick boxes beside each title in the Results list to select records to print. If you choose to display more than 100 records, you must print them in groups of 100.

Save Marked

Use the tick boxes beside each title in the Results list to display all or some of the results. If you choose to display more than 1,000 records, you must save them in groups of 1,000. You may choose to save the results as an Excel spreadsheet, or as a text file. The list of library locations is not shown.