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Michigan State University

Things (about the MSU Library) that History Graduate Students Should Know: Home

Searching Online Catalogs

You should:

  • realize that the MSU Library's online Catalog contains material from the MSU Library system, the Library of Michigan, and the MSU Archives

  • be able to find bibliographies by using this Advanced Keyword Search command: 
    • SUBJECT: bibliography AND
    • Any Field: [term(s)

Other Useful Stuff

"...the world's most comprehensive collection of dissertations and theses. The official digital dissertations archive for the Library of Congress and the database of record for graduate research....The database offers full text for most of the dissertations added since 1997 and strong retrospective full text coverage for older graduate works."

  • "Find Text @MSU"

    This link is displayed in many of the databases that the MSU Libraries own. It is a tool to help you link from an article citation to the full text of that article. Use it only for articles; it does not work for books, reviews or other types of materials.

Decoding citations

Citations' appearance vary from discipline to discipline. Here's the basic formats for books and journal articles that most historians use:

  • Books :

    Author. Title. Place of publication (sometimes omitted): Publisher, Year of Publication. Number of pages (sometimes omitted).
    Berry, Daina Ramey. "Swing the sickle for the harvest is ripe" : gender and slavery in antebellum Georgia. Urbana : University of Illinois Press, c2007. 224 p.

  • Articles in Journals or Magazines :

    Author. "Title of Article' Title of Journal or Magazine Numbering (Issue Date): Pages of Article.
    Michael Unsworth. "Floating Vengeance: Japanese Balloon Attacks on Michigan," Michigan History, Vol. 71, no. 2 (March/April 1987): 8-14.

Retrieving Material

  • Recalling checked-out materials
  • Requesting books & journals from Remote Storage
  • Requesting materials from other libraries:
    • Articles
    • Books and other materials:
      • MeLCat (Michigan E-Library Catalog For books and videos only. Searches the catalogs of many public and academic libraries in Michigan. The University of Michigan at Ann Arbor does not participate.
      • Uborrow. For everything except articles. Searches the catalogs of 13 major Midwestern research libraries.
      • Illiad For books,videos, dissertations, etc.
      • WorldCat (OCLC) For everything except articles. WorldCat contains more than 1 billion records describing items owned by over 10,000 libraries worldwide. Each record indicates library holdings and contains a "Request this item in ILLiad" link.

Online Reference Tools

Searching for Reference Works in the Online Catalog

Use this template in the online catalog's Advance Keyword Search:

Subject: [type of reference work] AND Any Field: [keyword]


Subject: Bibliography AND Any Field: Sport*

Subject: Chronology AND Any Field:: Gender

Subject: Dictionaries AND Any Field:: Religi*

Subject: Encyclopedias AND Any Field: Vietnam*

Subject: Handbooks AND Any Field: "Women's studies"

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