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HIST 327: Modern African American History: Find Books & More

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Search Strategies

Search Tips and Strategies

1. Generate a set of terms related to your topic.  These will be the keywords with which you begin searching.

America                Women             Letters                 Race
American              Gender             Diary                    Race relations
United States        Feminist           Account                Prejudice
U.S.                                               Autobiography      Discrimination
African American                                                        Jim Crow

2. In order to get search results more specific to your topic, find the appropriate subject heading. To do this, choose a book from your keyword search in the catalog. Next look in the record under "subject." You should find hyperlinked subject headings like those highlighted to the right.

subject headings example

Possible subject headings:

Women--History--United States

Women--United States--History--19th Century

Women--West (U.S.)

African American Women--Diaries



Image attribution

Putting Search Terms Together

Boolean Operators: AND, OR, NOT and Other Symbols for More Effective Searching

slave* AND (narrative OR diar*)=Using the AND operater narrows your search to only results that mention both keywords.  Use the OR operator to search for variants or synonyms of the same keyword.  The asterisk (*) is a wildcard symbol that is used to catch variant endings of a word (individuality, individualism, as well as individual).

“african american” AND music=Use quotation marks to search for a specific phrase.