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HIST 211: The Early Modern Atlantic World (Fall 2022)

Where to Start: Book or Article

You should typically start looking for books on your topic first. Books have broader topics, as seen in the title "Puritans and Catholics in the Trans-Atlantic World, 1600–180," and these works can be located easily in the catalog.  Articles are much more focused, with topics like "Jesuit Contexts and the Atlantic World in the Cartagena Mission to Enslaved Africans, 1605–1654"  

Unless your topic is very targeted, start looking for secondary sources in the catalog first.

Identify Key Words

When starting your search for secondary sources (scholarly books & articles), identify the main keywords in your search.

  • Religion in the Atlantic World
    • Religion AND "Atlantic World"
  • The British in the Atlantic Slave Trade
    • British AND Atlantic AND "Slave Trade"
  • The growth of the Spanish Empire in the Atlantic
    • "Spanish Empire" AND "Atlantic" AND (growth OR expansion)
  • The reaction of Native Americas to French arrival North America
    • "Native Americans" AND French AND arrival

Omit superfluously or redundant words.

You will need to try different word combinations to find the results you need. It typically takes 3 or 4 tries to find exactly what you want.


Be sure to use Caps for AND, OR, NOT when searching.

AND - searches for books and articles containing both terms. Example: Women AND Education

OR - searches for one of the words. Example: British OR English

NOT - exclude a term. Example:  Scotland NOT England

Parenthetical notes () - excellent for OR or NOT searches. Like a math equation, the database will do this part first.
Example: (British OR English) AND Laws = search for British or English Laws.
Example: (England NOT London) AND Crime = search for crime in England, excluding London.

Quotation Marks ""- Links words together in the search. Works best for phrases or proper names.
Example: "Queen Anne"
Example: "Virginia Company"
Warning: You might exclude results. A search for "Captain Smith" will exclude all results for "Captaine Smith," which was the original spelling

Asterisk * - Allows you to search several word endings at once, without using OR.
Example: Virginia* will give you results for Virginia, Virginian, Virginians. 
Example: Danc* will give you results for Dance, Dancing, Dancers.
Example: Brit* will give you British, Britain, Brits.
Warning: You may get unexpected results. Brit* will also yield Brittany, Britons, and Britches. Virginia* will bring up articles on the Virginia opossum