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History Subject Resource Guide

Search tips

Search by KEYWORDS

  • Use keywords that represent the major concept(s) in your topic.  A keyword search searches for those concepts anywhere in the catalog or database record
  • Once you have located some relevant items, you can do a more refined search using the subject terms (sometimes called descriptors) that appear in those records

Search by SUBJECT

  • Subject terms are standardized terms developed to describe materials listed in the catalog or database.
  • Subject terms are not always commonly used terms.  Searching by keyword first is an easy way to determine relevant subject terms
  • You can then click on the link in the subject field of the record or use the search box to search by subject.  The catalog and most databases will have a drop-down menu where you can choose to search by subject (or descriptor).


  • Combine subject terms and/or keywords to search for primary materials using the drop-down menus located in the advanced search screens of the catalog or databases. 
  • Consider limiting your search by publication date.  Use the time period you are researching.  Materials published within that timeframe MAY BE (but are not necessarily) primary--you will need to evaluate if they are first-hand accounts.
  • Try using keywords that represent the type(s) of materials you are looking for such as


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