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ANTH 162, Fall 2022 (Prehistoric Food Production): Research Strategies

Searching Tips and Tricks: BOOKS

Start with Keywords:

  • Keyword searching uses your vocabulary - words that you think best represent your topic. A keyword search looks for matches between your words and words in the titles, subject headings, tables of content (etc.) of books in the Library catalog.
  • Try to think of the different words that a person writing on your topic might use. For our example we will start with Picasso and Guernica. To search for books on your topic we will use the boolean operator AND to combine Picasso and Guernica since we want books on picasso but specific to his painting Guernica. The keyword search Picasso AND Guernica retrieved 40 items. You can now examine the list to determine their relevance to your paper.
  • Sometimes you may also want to try using the truncation symbol * (asterisk) to expand your results. For example, domesticat* will retrieve domesticate, domestication, domesticity, etc.

Follow the Subject Headings:

    • In libraries, subjects are drawn from a controlled vocabulary: the librarian who "catalogs" (creates a catalog record for) a book selects words or phrases from a list of subjects (the Library of Congress Subject Headings), choosing one or more subjects that he or she believes best represent what the book is about.
    • When you have a set of results from your keyword search, you can click title link to see additional information on each book, including what subjects have been assigned to the book.  If one of the subject headings describes all or part of your topic well, you can click on that subject to find other items in the catalog that have been assigned with that same subject heading.  



Go to the Stacks:

  • Once you have identified good sources of information on your topic, write down what you need to know to find it in the Library stacks: the author's name, the title of the book, its library location (e.g. Main Library or Native American Studies) and the call number.
  • The Library Locations guide (a printed version is also available at the reference desk) has information about floor and the section of the Library to go to find your book.
  • Libraries organize materials by subject. So look to the left and right of the book you've chosen to see if you can find other titles on your topic.

Keywords Searching

Consider your research problem:  What do you need to know and what are you trying to find out?  Consider time period, place, person or group, event or aspect.  Choose a topic that interests you!

Decide what types of sources you will need:  books, articles, encyclopedias, maps, newspapers, etc.

Gather background information on the topic:  explore your topic first—maybe start with a subject encyclopedia or other reference book for concise information, such as

     Encyclopedia of Global Environmental Change, Sci-Eng Lib. Ref  GE149 .E443

or, Wikipedia

Use a question stem, such as those below, to help write a clear, focused research question:

What is/was the role of . . . in . . .

What are/were the effects/results of . . .

Who/what influenced . . . to . . .

What is/was the relationship between . . . and . . .

How does/did . . . change . . .

Library of Congress Classification

The UCSB Davidson Library uses the Library of Congress Classification system (LC) to arrange books and other library materials by subjects and disciplines

About Call Numbers

The LC Classification Scheme

Subject Classification and Call Numbers for your topic

Library of Congress Classification Numbers
S   -  Agriculture (general)
SB -  Plant Culture
SD -  Forestry
SF -  Animal Culture
SH -  Aquaculture. Fisheries.
SK -  Hunting Sports
Subject Headings

Domestic animals
Animals and civilations
Human-animal relationships
Food History
Agriculture, Prehistoric