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Michigan State University

HST 295 (Jacobson), Fall 2020: Find Books

General Tips

  • Check the MSU Online Catalog for books, videos, and more.  Note that the MSU Online Catalog is a union catalog which includes the holdings of the Library of Michigan, the MSU College of Law Library, and other branches on our own campus.
  • Don't forget to use the bibliographies in reference works, books, and articles to identify other resources on your topic.

Sample Library of Congress Subject Headings

It’s true that you can find sources on a topic by doing keyword searches. But if you limit yourself to keyword searching, you are likely to miss important material on your topic that uses other terms. If you only need two or three books, you can probably find what you need by doing keyword searches, but if you are doing historical research, you can’t afford to miss critical material on your topic. For a comprehensive subject search, search with subject headings as well as keywords.

A good way to identify subject headings for a topic is to do a keyword search in the online catalog using terms you think describe the topic and try to identify a few relevant books. Look at the full record for those books to see what subject headings were used, then do another search on those headings. Examples include the following

  • Germany History 1933-1945 (and refine by topic)
  • National Socialism (then refine by topic)
  • Gays Nazi Persecution
  • Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945) [and subheadings such as “Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945) -- Austria

Etc. Use those subjects!

Michigan State University