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VIST 142: Introduction to Visual Studies (HC)

Visual Studies 142: Introduction to Visual Studies (Knight) Fall 2017

Tips for Searching Part 1

If you search a catalog or database and receive a large number of results, add a limit or additional keyword in order to retrieve a manageable and relevant number of results to review.  At the same time overly narrow search terms can return too few results.  One way of solving both problems is to use Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT), which allow you to limit or expand searches depending on your needs.

For example, a search for religion  AND philosophy will return items that contain both concepts:

anima OR aesthetic* making returns items that contain either one of the concepts or both:

Germany NOT Finland returns items that talk about Germany but do not mention Finland:




Phrase searching:

An important strategy to use when searching for phrases ("black and white") or titles:

For example, "visual studies" AND art

will search for those words in that order, finding 64 results. 

Truncation and Wildcards:

Most catalogs and databases enable users to search variations of keywords by using truncation (*) or wildcard (e.g., ?, $, !) symbols.

For example, one could search for politic*  to find poltic, politics, political, politicking, and so on.

Wildcard searches are for differences within words: a search for wom?n will return results for woman, women, and womyn.

Nested Searching:

When pairing two or more keywords with another keyword, it is important to "nest" the former terms within a larger Boolean search.

"visual studies" AND art AND 20th will return results for the union of the three subject areas

 Results include:  Film, Art, new media: Museum without walls? 

 

Tips for Searching Part 2

Subject Headings allow you to find relevant material grouped together including titles that do not use the keywords you may be 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: How folklore shaped modern art

                 Subjects:                                                                   

             Art criticism > History > 20th century.
             Art criticism > History  > 21st century.

             Art, Modern > Philosophy.
             Art criticism.
             History.

  Subject search Art criticism > History  > 21st century =  24 results

 

Refining subject searches

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

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

To ensure this, you can use subject headings you have already found.  Another option is to browse in the subject headings for more choices.