We have a new online catalog fall semester, 2022, which is undergoing various improvements. It does not work exactly the way these older directions below portray. Some of the information about subject headings may still be useful.
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) to search by personal author, corporate author, title of book, author/title combination, title of periodical, keyword(s) that might be found in a title, subject heading, or call number.
Authors may be individuals, organizations, or corporate entities. For personal authors enter surname, first name. Examples: Elliott, J.H. Ignatius of Loyola, Saint, 1491-1556. Cervantes Saavedra, Miguel de, 1547-1616. Hakluyt Society.
Titles may be titles of particular books or particular journals/periodicals. Do not start a title search with the words “A”, “An”, or “The.” Do include these words as they occur later on in a title. Examples: Old World and the New 1492-1650. Journal of Early Modern History.
Keywords are words or phrases that one hopes to find in titles. In keyword searching the computer matches the word or words requested; it has no brain and cannot think. It has no capacity to understand the meaning of the word(s) as you intend it/them in your search. Recently coined terms and topics may be best searched by keyword because it takes some time for new subject headings to be established by catalogers. Examples: Spanish Jewry. Boolean phrase: golden age Spain. Boolean phrase: (decline or survival) and (portugal or spain). Communeros. Convivencia. Text box. Flash drive. Care package.
Call numbers can be searched if you have a general or specific call number. In this way one can browse the shelves of the Main Library from the comfort of home. Example: BX 1735 (Inquisition in Spain). DP 536 (history of Portugal). G 159-336 history of discoveries, explorations, and travel.
Subject headings are standardized words and phrases assigned by catalogers when cataloging library materials. 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... Subject heading searching usually results in better quality subject retrieval than keyword searching. Examples: Ignatius of Loyola, Saint, 1491-1556 (for books about him). Brazil. Jesuits—missions. Catholic Church—history—16th century. Inquisition. Inquisition--[place]. Moriscos. Mudejares. Conquerors. Missionaries. Spain--history.
Notice and use standardized sub-headings to find particular types of material, such as bibliographies, periodicals, dictionaries, biography, etc. For example: Spain--history--bibliography.
Some possibly useful subject headings are below. Use subject search.
America—discovery and exploration
Bourbon, House of
Cervantes Saavedra, Miguel de, 1547-1616
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, 1500-1558
Conquerors—[place name] for examples: Latin America. Mexico. Portugal. Spain.
Demarcation line of Alexander VI
Don Quixote Cervantes Saavedra Miguel de, 1547-1616
Ferdinand V, King of Spain, 1452-1616
Ignatius of Loyola, Saint, 1491-1556
Indians of Central America
Isabella I, Queen of Spain, 1451-1504
Latin America—discovery and exploration
Latin America—discovery and exploration--Spanish
Latin America—economic conditions
Latin America—history—[chronological period]
Philip II, 1556-1598
Pizarro, Francisco, ca 1475-1541
Portugal--history--sources (for locating primary source material)
Spain—history—Ferdinand and Isabella, 1479-1516
Spain—history—House of Austria, 1500-1700
Spain--history--sources (for locating primary source material)
Spain—social life and customs
Teresa, of Avila, Saint, 1515-1582
Thirty Years’ War, 1618-1648
Velazquez, Diego, 1599-1660