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VIST 258: American Queen (HC)

Visual Studies 258: American Queen: Drag in Contemporary Art and Performance (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 drag  AND art will return items that contain both concepts:

gay OR queer 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, "drag queen" AND art

will search for those words in that order, finding 18 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.

drag AND art AND queer will return results for the union of the three subject areas

 Results include:  Queer dramaturgies: International perspectives on where performance leads queer


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: No Tea No Shade: New Writings in Black Queer Studies


             African American gays.
             Gay and lesbian studies.

             African Americans in popular culture.
             Gays in popular culture.
             Gender identity > political aspects.
             Sex in popular culture.


  Subject search African American gays =  26 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.