Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

HIST 300: Refugees in World History

Finding Books via Search It

Tips for finding books in Search It, the WSU Libraries' catalog.

Use BOOLEAN operators to refine your searches.

  • AND will search for BOTH of the words together (refugee AND syria will bring back resources that have both of those words, not one or the other)
  • OR will search for EITHER of the words (this is good for when you have synonyms, or want to search for multiple places or people at once. Example: refugees AND (syria OR egypt))
  • NOT will exclude a word from your search (refugee NOT "tom petty" will exclude all sources about Tom Petty's song Refugee!)


  • Use quotation marks around phrases to search for words that you would expect to appear together. (e.g. "religious persecution" or "Middle Ages")
  • Use an asterisk * to truncate a word and allow for variant endings or spellings: (religi* for religion, religions, religious). 
  • Use specific names, events, or time periods to avoid being overwhelmed by extraneous results; this is especially important when searching for primary sources.
  • Use the FACETS on the left side of the screen to refine your search by resource type, date, subject area, and more. You can also refine so that it shows you only sources online at WSU.
  • When you locate relevant items in your search results, open the full record to look at the subject headings listed under the "Details" section in the Search It record. You can click on relevant subject headings to see other titles with the same heading, or reuse them in a new search that incorporates additional keywords.
  • Use reference lists/bibliographies in relevant works to locate other research materials. 
  • As we cannot currently browse the physical shelves in the library, Search It has a 'Browse Library Shelves' feature within each item record (scroll to the bottom), visually displaying the books located next to your book on the shelves.
  • Search primary sources by adding the following to your keyword search in Search It: sources, correspondence, letters, personal narratives, diaries, church records, wills, documents etc. For example: refugee* AND correspondence.

Monographs vs. non-monographs

For more information on monographs versus edited volumes versus other types of resources, see pages 51-54 in The Information Literate Historian.

Some things to look for when determining if a book is a history monograph:

  • It is written by one or more authors; but those authors have written all of the chapters. Look at the details of the record. Scroll down to the contents. When all of the chapters are listed, do you see an author's name after each chapter? If not, then it is likely a monograph. If each chapter has a different author, it is likely an edited volume.
  • Do all of the chapters relate to the main topic of the book? If so, it is probably a monograph.
  • Does the book have an introduction chapter and a concluding chapter? Does it appear to provide evidence in a linear fashion, leading to a conclusion? If so, it is probably a monograph.
  • Does the main listed "author" have an "editor" title (Ed.) after their name? If so, it is probably an edited volume.

You will also want to look for the following:

  • Publisher: Look for university presses, or academic publishers.
  • Subject headings and details: What is your book ABOUT? Do the conclusions of the book add to your research in a significant, meaningful way?
  • Year published: Interpretations of an historical topic or subject change over time, depending on the author, their background, what research has come to light to that point, what schools of thought are being followed, and so on. It is important to recognize that books and articles written in particular years might be situated in the thought of that time.

Accessing Print and Electronic Books: COVID Edition

The library will be closed during the Fall 2020 semester. However, you can still check out print books and other physical materials, as we can mail them to your place of residence. For those of you on campus, we have contactless pickup available in lockers outside of the library. To request one of these options, make sure you are logged in to Search It. When you click on the item title and scroll down, click on the Request Item button and select your preference. NOTE: If you request home delivery, make sure that your address is correct in your student account, OR enter it in the notes field when making the request.

For information on these options, and for tutorials on a wide range of information regarding access to materials, please see the "How Do I" page (link below).

Many eBooks in our collection can be accessed online from anywhere, using your WSU NetID and password. Some of these books have unlimited licenses, meaning that they may be viewed and checked out by any number of users, and some are more restricted. To read a full book offline, you must download certain software that allows you to "check it out" for a certain period of time. However, you may read the full book online without technically checking it out. In some cases, you can download a chapter or a certain percentage of the book as a PDF to keep forever. See the links below for information.

One eBook program we participate in is called HathiTrust ETAS. If you see this listed on a red button on a book record, click on it, and then on the next page, click on Log In on the top right. This will ensure you get access to the book.

If we do not have access to a book or article, we can order it from another library for free! Please see the instructions for ordering via Summit (books) and Interlibrary Loan (books, articles, and more) in the How Do I link below, or contact me (Erin Hvizdak) with questions.

WSU Libraries, PO Box 645610, Washington State University, Pullman WA 99164-5610, 509-335-9671, Contact Us