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Michigan State University

History of the Family Around the World: Finding Books in the M.S.U. Libraries

This is a guide to researching the history of the family around the world using reference works, bibliographies, periodical indexes, and primary sources. Last updated 06-08-2023

Finding Books in the M.S.U. Libraries

It is possible to do a quick and dirty, one box keyword search , starting at the left side of the Libraries' home page The results will be sorted into several categories to follow up on:  articles from journals, books/media from our online catalog, databases, library research guides like this one, other.   To do a more traditional search, read on.

Below the general search box, click on Books and Media to search for physical, paper/cloth bound books, paper/cloth bound journals, physical media, such as DVDs or microforms, or individually cataloged electronic items.  

In Books and Media, click on the down arrow on the right side of the form where it says "Catalog."  Choose the type of search you want to do.  In the box to the right put in your search terms.  Enter author's name either last name, first name or first name last name.  Omit initial articles in book titles; include them as they occur within the book title itself.  To search by L.C. subject heading, it may be better to use the Browse Alphabetically Browse by Subject lower down in the list than Catalog: Subject, because those results will show the surrounding subject headings, and number of hits retrieved.  After you receive your results, notice that you can filter them in various ways, by using the facets along the left side of the page.

Advanced Search allows for combination of more than one search aspect, such as author and title, or several lines of keywords.  You can also confine your results to particular parts of our Libraries' collections, by using the Location area on the lower right side.

Below the general search box, click on E Books and Journals to search for journal titles in electronic form or individual electronic books that will have been received by the Library in a package.  You may need to check both Books and Media and E Books and Journals to find your electronic book.

Library of Congress' List of Subject Headings, a set of fat red books in Reference 1 East at Z 696... can be used to find the words and phrases used to describe the books in our Collections by our catalogers.  The best topic/subject searches usually result from using these subject headings.  Look up what you think of as the topic to get what the official subject heading is.  Also, when you find a good book by doing a keyword search in Books and Media, notice its subject headings within its catalog entry.  Clicking on those headings will often take you to more books on that topic.  Remember that books about people, organizations, events, and places are also possible subject headings, even though they are not all listed in the List of Subject Headings.