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Hist 301: Historian's Craft (Benes, Spring 2024)

Books at WM Libraries

Important notes for this class

  • Our catalog and worldcat use "World War, 1914-1918" as the official subject for the war.
    • in the SUBJECT box, search "world war" AND 1918
    • In the other boxes, search keywords or subject of your choosing.
  • ​​​​​​​Our catalog uses "United States" and "Great Britain" and Germany as subject headings.
  • Other useful subject headings include
    • ​​​​​​​propaganda
    • women​​​​​​​
    • sexuality
    • religion
    • memory
    • causes
    • historiography
    • Foreign Relations.
    • public opinion
    • social aspects


  • 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


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

AND - searches for books and articles containing both terms. Example: Oregon AND "Indian boarding school"

OR - searches for one of the words. Example: "Indian boarding schools" OR "Indian schools"

NOT - exclude a term. Example:  NOT Canada

Parenthetical notes () - excellent for OR or NOT searches. Like a math equation, the database will do this part first.
Example: (Virginia OR "West Virginia") AND "Indian boarding schools"  = search for Indian boarding schools in Virginia or West Virginia
Example: (schools 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: "Indian boarding schools" 
Example: "brafferton school"
Warning: You might exclude results. A search for "Captain Smith" will exclude all results for "Captaine Smith," which was the original spelling. "Indian boarding schools" will exclude "Indian Schools"

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: school* covers school, schools, schoolroom, schoolbook, schoolmarm, etc
Warning: You may get unexpected results. Virginia* will bring up articles on the Virginia opossum. Wom* will include wombat.