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Milne Library SUNY Geneseo Subject Guides


HIST 302 Hacking the Middle Ages -- Professor Yvonne Seale: Advice on Searching

Truncation (The Asterisk)

An Asterisk (*) at the end of a term will allow you to search for different forms of a word with what you enter as a base.  For example:

will return Education, Educator, Educators, Educate, Educated

whereas

will return just Education exactly as you type it in.

This is a very simple and effective way of broadening the number of results you get.

Proximity Searching

PROXIMITY SEARCHING   Sometimes when you are searching a database, you find articles that have your search terms, but on separate pages of the article, only vaguely related to each other. In that case, the technique of Proximity searching would be helpful.  Proximity searching allows you to search for documents that contain two search terms, in any order, within a specified number of words.  Here is an example:

This search will retrieve articles in which the word diabetes appears within 5 words of the phrase clinical trials, whether diabetes comes first or after clinical trials.

Call Numbers


Uncertain of where to start searching for your call number?
Check out the floorplan for the Upper Level


Phrase Searching (Quotation Marks)

Quotations marks (" ") will group words as a phrase, ensuring they appear next to each other in the record. For example:

will return only articles that use those terms right next to each other.

whereas will return articles that may mention Great in one part of the record and Depression in another part of the record. 

Using IDS (Interlibrary Loan)

If you find an article in one of the library databases that doesn't have a PDF icon, click on the button to access the full text. One of two things will happen: 1) either we have access to the full text from one our databases and the article will open in a new window, or 2) a window will open with a link to request it through IDS:

Click on this link, then use your Geneseo username and password to log into IDS.  (If you haven't set up your account, you will have to fill out a brief form to do so.  You will only have to fill this out once):

Finding Primary Sources

You will get limited results if you try to search for "primary sources" in library databases since the Library of Congress does not use that subject heading.  Try searching these subject headings instead:

sources
personal narratives
documents
manuscripts
texts
sermons
memoirs
letters

Advice on Searching Databases