Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
Michigan State University

Medieval English Peasant: MSU Libraries' Online Catalog

This is a guide to researching the medieval English peasant. Medieval West -- Reference Sources and Medieval West -- Additional Web Resources are more extensive research guides.

MSU Libraries' Online Catalog

It is possible to do a quick and dirty, one box keyword search of the contents of the MSU Libraries' web site, starting at the top left 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. 

Use Books and Media (online catalog).Search by author, title of a specific book or periodical, keyword(s) that might be found in a book title, subject heading, or call number.

Author search uses last name, first name, for personal authors. Organizations, corporations, companies may also be authors.  Sometimes the best entries for publications put out by English record, historical, archival, or archaeological societies/organizations are found by doing a search for the society/organization as the author.

Examples:  Tabuteau, Emily.  Bedfordshire Historical Record Society.

Title search does not use a, an, or the as the first word, but do include these words if they occur later in the title. 

Examples: Transfers of Property in Eleventh-Century Norman Law.  Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies.

Keyword search uses words that you hope to find in book titles.  The computer searches for the keywords anywhere in the catalog entry.  As a result, keyword searches usually retrieve more results than title or subject heading searches and there may be many false drops. 

"And" is understood between the words, whether you include it or not.  Asterisk (*) finds one or more letters after it; use it to find singular or plurals, other word endings, or more words following.  Boolean logic using parentheses () to form sets can be used to execute complex search strategies. 

Examples: Property norman law.  Property and norman and law.  (England or english) and (medieval or (middle age*)). 

Subject heading search uses standardized words and phrases assigned by catalogers when cataloging library books.  They are published in the Library of Congress' List of Subject Headings, a large set of red books, located in the Reference collection, call number Z 695....  Remember, persons (last name first), organizations, companies, places, and events may all be L.C. subjects even though their names are not in the L.C. List....

After finding a good book by title or keyword, notice the subject headings near the bottom of the catalog record.  Click on one or more of these to be taken to other books with the same subject heading.

Examples:  Peasants, England.  Court records, EnglandGreat Britain--civilization--medieval period, 1066-1485.  England--social life and customs, 1066-1485.  [place name]--history--sources. Plague.  Black death. Tyler's insurrection, 1381. Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths. Drapers Company.

Call number search.  Browse the shelves from the convenience of home or office!  Having identified a particularly useful call number area from other searches, do a call number search in order to see other possibly relevant books that sit nearby on the shelf, whether they are in the Main Library, Remote Storage, or a branch library.

Example:  DA 245

Michigan State University