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HIST 340: Voices for Justice - Seven African American Lives (HC)

HIST 340: Voices for Justice - Seven African American Lives (Lapsansky-Werner) Spring 2023

Advanced Searching Tips

Advanced Searching in Tripod


1.)  Keywords allow you to construct a search that reflects multiple issues in your research question.  Building sets of related concepts and looking for their overlaps gives you more relevant and precise results.  This approach is also called Boolean searching.

Related concepts   (opium OR narcotic* OR opiate* OR drug*)      

                                    Tips: Enclose in parentheses

                                               Capitalize the ORs

                                                *  ( Truncate)   Searches root words with all the different endings; politic* = politics, politician, political, etc.

                                                “  “  Enclose phrases in quotation marks, e.g.  “china trade”  to get the words together in that order


Overlaps   (opium OR narcotic* OR opiate* OR drug*) (china OR chinese) (trade OR smuggl*)            

                                      Tip: Add the other related concept groups.  Tripod automatically supplies the AND between groups

                                         so that you see only titles that have at  least 1 keyword from each of the 3 groups                                               



Results      (opium OR narcotic* OR opiate* OR drug*)  (china OR chinese) (trade OR smuggl*) = 179 titles in Tripod

                                    Results display automatically in relevancy order with the records having the highest number of keywords appearing first

                                    Sorting for the newest books first shows recent scholarship

                                    Sorting by oldest books is useful for finding primary sources


2.) Subject Headings allow you to find relevant material grouped together including titles that do not use the keywords you may have been searching.


Finding subject headings

                   Look at a book record in Tripod, check the subjects assigned to it, and choose whatever ones are relevant for your research.

Example:  Gender and Mission Encounters in Korea : New Women, Old Ways.

by Hyaeweol Choi.  University of California Press, 2009.


                                        Women -- Korea -- History

                                       Women missionaries -- Korea -- History

                                       Women in missionary work -- Korea -- History


          Search   mission* korea* [Subject] AND (women* OR gender*) [Keyword]  =  97 books and journal articles


Refining subject searches

                                   You can combine different concepts into a single subject search for precision.  The results are more focused than a keyword search.

                                    But all the words have to be terminology used in library subject cataloging.

                                    To ensure this, you can use subject headings you have already found.  

                                    Combination subject and keyword search:

                                           mission* korea*[Subject] AND 20th century [Keyword]  =  51 books and journal articles

                                                Searches both missionaries and missions

                                                20th century added to specify the time period


3.) Other Databases 

Other databases covering journal articles and primary sources also rely on advanced searching with AND and OR.  Historical Abstracts and America History and Life work best if you build synonyms together in one box in parentheses, e.g. (trade OR smuggl*) and leave the connectors as ANDs.