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HIST 4603 - History of the New South: Book Searching

Keyword Search

Many systems, like databases, library catalogs online, and Google, default to the "Keyword" search, which uses "natural language" or words. This term or set of terms can appear anywhere or any field in a record, such as title, author, subject, note, etc. The meaning of the words are not considered. For example, the terms "heavy metal" could pull results related to music or related to soil content. Here are some basic tips on how to use the Keyword search.

Tip: Combine or group terms by enclosing them within quotation marks.
"African American cowboys"  

"early settlements"
"gold rush"

Tip: Use the Keyword search to combine an author and keywords in a title of his or her work. For example, for information about the poem, "Mending Wall", by Robert Frost, or the fiction novel, House of the Spirits, by Isabel Allende, combine the author's last name and a keyword of the title of the work. Note: The names are not case sensitive. Additionally, the search may pull other non-related titles if the terms entered appear in the item record.
Ex: Black Elk and speaks
Ex: Blackhawk and American West
Ex: Rhodes and audubon
Ex: Dary and Santa Fe Trail

Grouping: Keyword search results are usually grouped by relevance to bring the most likely titles to the top of the list. Each group represents a similar level of relevance and results are sorted within the group by date or title. To get an ungrouped result set, use boolean operators to form a complex query. 

Example: Nat Turner and slavery

Example: railroads and great plains

Subject Search

The "Subject" search uses a "controlled vocabulary" and focuses on subject terms or subject headings to define or to describe the information within the system. This type of search is targeted using specific terms or phrases that are highly relevant to the topic. It will locate all records on this subject and does not consider other fields, like the title or note fields as part of the search. This ensures the results are related and focused on the subject searched or the desired topic, which saves the user time.
Frontier and pioneer life
California Gold discoveries
United States West
History United States 19th Century
Outlaws Indian Territory History
Indians of North America Treaties
Wounded Knee Massacre
Little Big Horn
Great Sioux War
Native American Wars
Women Airforce Service Pilots (U.S.)
Women West (U.S.) history
War of 1812
Slave Insurrections
Lewis, Meriwether, 1774-1809
Clark, William, 1770-1838
Explorers West (U.S.) Correspondence [documents]
Unites States West Migration Internal Personal Narratives
 [diaries and letters of the California-Oregon Trail]
Personal Narratives 1800-1899 [letters, diaries, documents of covered wagon travelers, military, nurses, Indians of North America]
Indians of North America Wars
Indians of North America Oklahoma
Indian slaves
Ranch life history

For additional information and to locate the Library of Congress subject authority headings and more, see the Library of Congress Authorities link below. 

Title Search

If you know the title to a book, use the "Title" search option. This search option will pull all records with that title listed in the NSU Libraries collections. For example, if there are several editions of the title in the collection under the same title, these records will be retrieved using the title search.

Example Title: The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition.

There are multiple library records for the Chicago Manual title for the 15th, 16th, and 17th edition. Review the records to determine which one you need. If you only have a few words in the title, the system will search for any titles with those words.


Author Search

The "Author" search locates all items written or co-authored by that author in the library's collections. From the Library home page (see the link below), click on the "Books & Media" tab at the top of the main library page and select "Author" from the drop down menu.
 Enter the author's last name/family name in the search box followed by the author's first name/given name. 
Example names:

Robert Frost or Frost Robert
James Harner or Harner James
Betty Ridge or Ridge Betty

If the author's name is similar to another author's name, provide the middle name initial.
Ex: Smith, James D or Smith, James F

Some author's names and middle initials are the same. If the middle name is given use it, if not generally a quick review of the book titles will determine which author is correct. 
Ex: Smith, James Perrin or Smith, James P

When searching for Latin names using the Library Catalog at NSU Libraries, they can differ in the way they are searched. However, when searching through the database WorldCat (OCLC), it will search for words and will return results. 
Ex: Garcilaso de la Vega would be entered as: Vega, Garcilaso de la
Ex: Mario Vargas Llosa would be entered as: Vargas Llosa, Mario
Ex: Juana Ines de la Cruz would be entered as written, without changing the wording.
Ex: Federico Garcia Lorca would be entered as Garcia Lorca, Federico
Ex: Pedro Calderon de la Barca would be entered as Calderon de la Barca, Pedro

JVL and BA Books


The following items are in eBook form and linked through the NSU Libraries Discovery system. Click on the "View eBook" icon in record to access it. If you are off campus, you will be prompted to enter your NSU id and Password.