In addition to searching for books in library catalogs by subject or keyword, try these strategies:
- Browse the shelves - libraries organize books two ways: by cataloging them and by classifying them - arranging them by subject on the shelves. Our library uses the Library of Congress shelving system. You may find a lot of intersting material in the HQ (women's studies) as well as the N section (art). Be sure to use the Oversized collection as well, as many art books don't fit on the standard shelves.
- Look for books cited in other sources - a very good way to get a selective and insightful list of related books is to start with a good source and trace its citations. Try this with the readings you have for class as well as looking at bibliographies in reference books. Then check our catalog to see if we own the book; if not place an interlibrary loan request.
- MnPALS Plus
The online catalog of the library at Gustavus Adolphus College.
Using Reference Books to Define Terms and Nail Down Facts
Includes over 40 million bibliographic records representing cataloged resources in 400 languages owned by libraries around the world. Use this catalog to order books not available in our library through interlibrary loan.
The following books are excellent places to find good background information and leads to important sources. A librarian can help you find reference books that are particularly suited to your questions, but these will give you a sense of what's available.
- New Dictionary of the History of Ideas
Covers a wide range of ideas historically and internationally. Particularly strong for overviews of current ideas taken in historical context, listing essential and significant texts that contributed to the development of concepts.
Location(s): Ref CB 9 .N49 2005
- Dictionary of Art
An exhaustive encyclopedia of world art, containing articles written by scholars on artists, movements, works, and subjects, each followed by a selective bibliography.
Location(s): Ref N 31 .D5 1996
- Encyclopedia of American Cultural and Intellectual History
Provides in-depth articles on American thought and culture. Topics covered include historical approaches, cultural groups, major cultural regions, and political thought.
Location(s): Ref E 169 .E624 2001 (3 vols.)
- Routledge Critical Dictionary of Feminism and Postfeminism
The first half of this book consists of a collection of fifteen short, pithy essays on feminism and its impact on a variety of subjects, including the developing world, popular culture, film, language, literature, religion, and psychoanalysis. Included, too, are historical surveys of early feminism, first and second wave feminism, and "postfeminism." The second half offers short introductions to key themes and major figures.
Location(s): Ref HQ 1115 .R68 2000
Other Book Resources
- Oxford English Dictionary
The Oxford English Dictionary is the ultimate authority on the English language, speech in English, and the usage of words. It provides the meaning, history, and pronunciation of over half a million words and traces their usage through 2.5 million quotations from a wide range of international English language sources. The OED includes words from across the English-speaking world, from North America to Europe, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and the Caribbean. A printed version of this dictionary in 20 volumes can be found at Reference PE1625 .O87 1989.
- Early English Books Online
Early English Books Online (EEBO) contains digital facsimile page images of nearly 100,000 books in English printed between 1473 and 1700 - virtually every work printed in England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and British North America, plus works in English printed elsewhere. Texts range from the first book printed in English by William Caxton through the age of Spenser and Shakespeare and the tumult of the English Civil War. Included are works by Malory, Bacon, More, Erasmus, Boyle, Newton, Galileo; musical exercises by Henry Purcell; novels by Aphra Behn; prayer books, pamphlets, and proclamations; almanacs, calendars, and many other primary sources.
- Google Books
Google is in the midst of an ambitious project to digitize books from publishers and in libraries. Those that were published before 1923 are in full text; those still potentially under copyright can be searched, but not viewed in full. It offers an interesting way to locate very specific words, phrases, and citations, particularly in older books. Using the advanced search you can limit a search to books that are full text or published within a range of years.
Finding Popular Magazines and Historical Newspapers
- Women's Studies: Core Books
A searchable database of the most important books in print on issues ranging from girls and girlhood to aging, covering women's studies approaches to religion, sports, the arts, law, media, politics, and more. Books are chosen by specialists in the Women's Studies Section of the Association of College and Research Libraries.
Finding Images as Primary Sources
- New York Times Historical (1851-4 years ago)
The full text of the New York Times from 1851 to 4 years ago -- covering the entire publishing history of the newspaper back to the first issue. The newspaper text is fully indexed and searchable and the database also contains full-page images, including graphics. Available on the Web through ProQuest.
- American Memory
A database containing full text documents, spoken word and sound recordings, still and moving images, maps, and sheet music as a digital record of American history and creativity. From the collections of the Library of Congress and other institutions.
- NYPL Digital Library
NYPL Digital Gallery provides access to over 550,000 images digitized from primary sources and printed rarities in the collections of The New York Public Library, including illuminated manuscripts, historical maps, vintage posters, rare prints and photographs, illustrated books, printed ephemera, and more.
Finding Scholarly Journals
- NYPL Mid-Manhattan Picture Collection
Picture Collection Online presents more than 30,000 digitized images from books, magazines and newspapers as well as original photographs, prints and postcards, mostly created before 1923.
There are two ways to find scholarly articles. One is to trace articles cited in other sources. To get those, check our Journals link and be prepared to order those we don't have through Interlibrary Loan. The other method is to search one or more of our databases. A combination of both strategies works best.
- Arts & Humanities Citation Index (Web of Knowledge)
A multidisciplinary index covering the journal literature of the arts and humanities. This index fully covers 1,144 of the world's leading arts and humanities journals, and also includes some individually selected, relevant items from over 6,800 major science and social science journals. Some of the disciplines covered include archaeology, linguistics, art, literature, music, philosophy, dance, history, religion and theater.
Full-text backfiles to over 350 scholarly journals from more than 25 academic disciplines published between the 19th and 21st centuries in the JSTOR Arts & Sciences I, Arts & Sciences II, and Language & Literature collections. JSTOR provides complete journal backruns from the date of initial publication up to a "moving wall" of 3 to 5 years before the present year. To limit your search to full text articles, make sure that the option to "include links to external content" is turned off.
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