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HIST 121: United States History to 1877 (Becker, Spring 2024)

Books at WM Libraries


  • Start with keywords.
  • Limit to books & ebooks.
  • Pay attention to Subject terms!
    • Once you find the subject terms for your topic, you can find every recent book on your topic
  • Any book in the catalog, even if it's at the Law library or Colonial Williamsburg Foundation library, can be picked up at Swem. Just use the request button in the catalog record.

Pay attention to subject terms

NOTE: once you know they subject terms for your topic, they'll work in every database, including WorldCat & America: History and Life

The subject Women -- Education (Higher) -- United States -- History -- 19th century will work in WorldCat just as well as in our databases.

Boolean (Again!)

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

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

OR - searches for one of the words. Example: schools OR academies

NOT - exclude a term. Example:  Universities NOT academies

Parenthetical notes () - excellent for OR or NOT searches. Like a math equation, the database will do this part first.
Example: (schools OR academies) AND women = search for schools and academies for women
Example: (universities NOT academies) AND women = search for women's universities, excluding women's academies

Quotation Marks ""- Links words together in the search. Works best for phrases or proper names.
Example: "higher education"
Example: "West Virginia"
Warning: You might exclude results. A search for "Captain Smith" will exclude all results for "Captaine Smith," which was the original spelling. "College of William & Mary" will exclude when it's just called "William & Mary"

Asterisk * - Allows you to search several word endings at once, without using OR.
Example: Virginia* will give you results for Virginia, Virginian, Virginians. 
Example: wom* will cover women, woman, womens, womanhood.
Example: Brit* will give you British, Britain, Brits.
Warning: You may get unexpecte