Skip to Main Content

HISTORY 121: World History

Finding books in the WSU Libraries

Use Search It, the WSU Libraries' catalog to locate books relevant to your topic. Search It also provides access to articles, media materials, and more.

  • Try these search techniques to locate relevant results: 
  1. Place quotes around a phrase ("Treaty of Westphalia") to keep terms together in your search
  2. Use an asterisk * to truncate a word and allow for alternate endings (theor* for theory, theoretical, theories). 
  3. When you locate good items in your search results, click on the 'Details' tab to look at the subject headings used for the work. As you locate better search terms, incorporate these into a new search to increase the relevance of your results
  • To locate primary sources try using the following terms, in addition to a relevant keyword:  sources, correspondence, letters, personal narratives, diaries, church records, wills.  For example, Columbus voyage* diaries
  • Use reference lists/bibliographies to locate other research materials (chaining):  locate a book that has potential for your topic or interests.  Scan the reference list to look at the sources used for the author's research; do title keyword searches in the library catalog to locate the article, dissertation, or book. 
  • Browse the stacks or the catalog.  Again, find a book of interest and go to the library stacks to locate it.  Because classification systems (either Library of Congress or Dewey) assign call numbers by the subject of the book, you will find related items in the same general area. 

Identifying a scholarly book

You can use Search It, the WSU Libraries Catalog to find a scholarly book related to your course topics. Many scholarly books are published through university presses, such as:

  • University of Chicago Press
  • Oxford University Press
  • University of Illinois Press
  • University of Toronto Press
  • Columbia University Press

As you search for and read scholarly books, you will become familiar with other large academic presses, including, among many others. If you are not familiar with a particular scholarly press, Google the publisher's website. Often you will find information for authors on that site, including the submission and peer review process for the press. Examples include:

  • Routledge
  • Palgrave Macmillan
  • Springer   
  • Sage
  • Rowman and Littlefield                                                                                                                                                                                         

A scholarly book will include citations, such as footnotes, end notes, a bibliography, references, or a works cited. These might be included at the end of each chapter, or at the end of the book itself. Also be sure to research the author. Generally speaking, they will have an advanced degree in their topic area, and will have written other books or articles on the subject (in Search It, you can click on the author name to see what else they have published).

Another strategy you can use to determine if a book is scholarly is to search for the title of the book in Search It, and add the search phrase "book review." If the book has been reviewed in scholarly journals, you will likely find these in your results.

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