The Explore RSU Libraries search box on the library website is a great place to start your research. It searches all the library's resources in one place including books/ebooks, journal and news articles, streaming video, and government publications.
Learn about a Topic
Some sources, such as encyclopedias or chronologies, are great for gathering general information on a topic. If you need definitions of words or concepts or background information, these sources are a good place to start.
The academic databases listed on this guide are excellent sources for magazine, news, and journal articles. Library databases are different from online search engines like Google, so you will need to master a few basic concepts in order to use them effectively.
When using the databases, you should exclude all extraneous words from your searches. First, leave out all articles (a, an, the) in your search. Next, narrow your search terms down to two or three words that describe exactly what you hope to find For example, if you are writing a paper about the theme of discrimination in Frankenstein, narrowing your search terms down to discrimination and Frankenstein will likely retrieve a manageable list of more precise results.
After you have selected your initial search terms, list any synonyms or related terms that might be relevant to your topic. For example, if your search terms are Frankenstein and discrimination, you might want to try synonyms such as "prejudice" or "intolerance" in place of discrimination. You may even replace discrimination with a related term, such as "inhumanity." Successful searches are often the result of trying out a variety of terms. Most databases will provide you with suggestions of additional or alternate search terms to use, which can lead you to better results in a shorter amount of time.
Two or more search terms may be combined in different ways to yield different results. The connectors AND, OR, NOT are useful search tools, and most databases have these built in to make searching easier. Use the connector AND to yield results that contain both search terms. Use OR for results that contain either term. Use NOT to exclude results that contain a specific term.
Different databases index different content, and selecting the right database is just as important to successful searching as choosing the right search terms. A search that retrieves few or no results in one database may work well in another. If you retrieve too few or irrelevant results in one database, try a different one.
If you are not familiar with scholarly publications, it can be difficult to tell the difference between scholarly and popular periodicals. There are no definitive rules for distinguishing between the two, but here are some guidelines:
Scholarly (e.g., academic journals):
Popular (e.g., magazines, newspapers):
Most books and other items in the library are organized by the Library of Congress Classification system. In that system, American and World History are in the D, E and Fs. Military history can be in any of those areas usually depending on geographic location and time period of the subject. You'll find materials in the Main Circulating Stacks (3rd floor).
Here are the subjects associated with specific call numbers, in case you'd like to browse. However, if you are looking for something specific, searching the library catalog is usually quicker.
D General World History (All Except North and South America)
DA Great Britain (England, Scotland, Wales) & Ireland
DAW Central Europe
DB Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia
DC France, Andorra, Monaco
DE Mediterranean Region, Greco-Roman World
DH Belgium, Luxemburg
DJ Netherlands (Holland)
DK Russia and former Soviet Republics, Poland
DL Northern Europe, Scandinavia
DP Spain, Portugal
DR Balkan Peninsula
DU Oceania, Australia, New Zealand
E History (General America and United States)
184.5-185.98 African Americans
186-199 Colonial History
300-453 Revolution to Civil War
456-655 Civil War
660-738 Late Nineteenth Century
740-837.7 Twentieth Century
838-887 Late Twentieth Century, 1961-
895-912 Twenty-first century
F History (Local U.S., Canada, Mexico, South America)
1-975 United States Local History
1201-3799 Latin America, South America