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Bibliography Research

A guide to finding and using bibliographies for historical research, with an emphasis on using bibliographies to find primary sources. Originally from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, reused/adapted with permissions.

Searching the Catalog for Bibliographies

To find bibliographies in the catalog, you would begin by using the same search strategies you would use to find books on your topics: a combination of searching by keywords, and browsing by subject headings. As usual, you should use keywords and subject headings that are both more specific and more general than your exact topic.

Remember also to keep your search simple at first--if you retrieve more records than you have time to review, then you can always narrow your search to retrieve fewer records.

If you needed primary sources on the history of lynching in the United States, you could search the catalog to see if there were any bibliographies that would guide you to sources. Search for the words "lynching" and "bibliography" in the subject field (use the dropdown menus to change the search from author/title/etc to subject on the Advanced Search screen):

This search retrieves records for 2 bibliographies, which list primary sources on lynching in the United States:

Use the same strategy for other subjects as well.

Browsing the Catalog for Bibliographies

You can browse through available bibliographies in an Exact Subject search from the advanced screen.




The retrieved results will include a total of items that are specifically about bibliographies or are types of bibliographies.  This is at the top.





Next, are related headings you could look at.  But the thing we care about will be all the various bibliography topics that are listed alphabetically.

Use the FORWARD and BACKWARD links to move in the catalog (don't use browser forward or backward) and to see more topics, like below:



Now that you have a sense of the topics under bibliography--look at how they are similarly arranged.  You can then go back to a regular subject search to try your own phrases.  See below:




Next, you'll see the list of results that are related to your topic, if a list of book results aren't initially returned:



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