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HIST 001N: Oil & Empire (SC)

History 001N: First Year Seminar - Oil & Empire - Fall 2013

Another Option: Using Historical Abstracts to Find Books

Government publications will frequently come up when you search Tripod for "oil" and other topics related to this course. One way around that problem is to use the database Historical Abstracts to find book reviews of relevant, scholarly books written by historians. Once you've found the title of a particular book, search Tripod to see if the Tri-Co Libraries own a copy.

You can request books that the Tri-Co Libraries don't own. Use EZBorrow to request a copy from another academic library in Pennsylvania (takes 3-5 business days to arrive for you at McCabe).

Books in the TriCo Libraries

Use the Tripod library catalog to find books held by the TriCollege libraries.  You can request books from the other TriCo schools and have them delivered to Swarthmore (within a day or two).

How to Find a Book:

1. Search Tripod to find books on your topic.
2. Once you've found a book that looks relevant, check to see whether the book is available at Swarthmore. If it says S McCabe, find the Call Number. This will tell you where to find the book in the library.

Call Numbers in McCabe Library:
A-G call numbers - Lower Level of McCabe (below the main floor)
H-K call numbers - Level 2 (above the main floor)
L-Z call numbers - Level 3

If the book you want is only available from Haverford (Magill) or Bryn Mawr (Canaday), click the Request button to have the book delivered to you at Swarthmore.

Narrow Your Search Results Geographically
In Tripod, search for a keyword that relates to your topic (e.g. oil). Then click the link for Books & More. This link will bring you to a set of search results with limits on the right-hand side of the page. Scroll down and find the Geography limit, then limit by a region (e.g. Middle East) or a specific country (e.g. Iraq).
Use One Good Book to Find Others
When you've located a relevant book, there are several strategies you can use to find additional related works.
  • Search by the subject headings you find in the book's Tripod record--this will help you find other books on the same topic, classified with the same subject heading. (view example)
  • Consult the book's bibliography and use Tripod and library databases to track down some of the sources that author cited.

How to Use Subject Headings:
Sample subject headings include:

To search directly for a subject heading, go to Tripod and change the drop-down menu from "Keyword" to "Subject." Enclose the subject heading in double quotes and then search.

Books Beyond the TriCo Libraries

To find books that are not owned by the TriCo libraries, search by keywords and/or subject headings in WorldCat, and make interlibrary loan or EZ-Borrow requests.  Whenever possible, try to make your interlibrary loan requests early in the semester, to ensure that the books arrive with enough time left to write your paper.


Doctoral students go through an exhaustive literature search when writing their dissertations. They also tend to work on new questions, sometimes ones that have received very little attention from scholars before. You can obtain many of these dissertations and benefit from all the bibliographic treasues and new ideas. Check ProQuest Dissertations & Theses to identify dissertations on your topic.