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*African-American Studies: Secondary Sources: Books

What Is a Literature Review?

See the GSU Library's research guide Literature Reviews for detailed information about researching and writing a literature review.

Creative Commons licensed image by Flickr user Caro Wallis

How Do I Find Secondary Sources for My Topic?

Use keyword searching in classic GIL or GIL-Find and in relevant databases. Brainstorm different keywords for your topic and see what happens.

Use Boolean searching (AND, OR, NOT) to expand or narrow your searches.

When you find a relevant item, click on the record and look for subject terms. Clicking on a subject term will bring up other related items.

Try your keywords and subject terms in other databases, and see what you find!

Recent Books in African-American Studies

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What Does a Secondary Source Do?

  • Provides background and context
  • Points you toward other relevant secondary sources
  • Serves as the basis for your literature review
  • Points you toward primary sources: intellectual honesty requires scholars to "show their work" and cite primary sources used
  • Can serve as model for your own writing and other class projects

Start By Searching Our Library Catalog

Use GILFind / "Catalog" tab on the GSU Library's homepage to find books in the GSU Library and at University System of Georgia libraries. 

GILFind includes books and materials from ALL of the GSU campuses: Atlanta, Clarkston, Decatur, Dunwoody, Newton, and Alpharetta. In order to place a request for an item at any of these locations, sign in with your Campus ID and password, and then click on "Request" in the catalog record to begin the process.

GILFind also lists other materials in the library - including microfilm, dissertations, movies, music and special collections.

GILFind now also lets you search all of the University System of Georgia library holdings at once. Just select "University System of Georgia" instead of "Georgia State University" in Simple Search, or in the "Search Scope" dropdown in Advanced Search. 

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"Help! I'm looking at an ebook and can't figure out how to download it!"

We have a research guide to help with that! See http://research.library.gsu.edu/ebooks for information and instructions about how to access and download ebooks. Note that the answer will depend on the source of the ebook, so look for a vendor name like Ebook Central, eBooks on EBSCOHost, or Books 24x7 (for example) in the library catalog's information about the ebook. 

Use the Power of Subject Searching

Books in libraries are assigned one or more subject headings. These are standardized terms that ensure books on the same topic can be found even if the keywords are different, as with The US Civil War and The War Between the States.

You can search in GIL-Find (which now lets you search all of the University System of Georgia library holdings at once -- just select "University System of Georgia" instead of "Georgia State University" in Simple Search, or in the "Search Scope" dropdown in Advanced Search) or WorldCatusing subject terms. 

  • In GILFind, use Advanced Search and select "in subject" in the dropdown box furthest to the left.
  • In WorldCat, use Advanced Search and select "Identifier: Subject" in any of the dropdown boxes. 

When you find a good book, look at its subject headings in the catalog record. Follow these to list other items on that topic. Or, use the subject heading terms in a new keyword search.

Examples might be:

  • African Americans
  • African American
  • Blacks
  • African Americans Georgia

And so on...

Search Other Library Catalogs

Start with our catalog at GILFind.

If GSU's library doesn't have what you need, you have, don't give up.  There are several options to get the book you want:

Universal Catalog - includes all Georgia public colleges and universities. The Universal Catalog is now included in GIL -- just select "University System of Georgia" in the dropdown next to the search box!) To see information about participating USG schools, click here. Request books through GIL Express (see above), or use your Panther Card to check out books at USG schools.

Emory - you can also borrow materials at Emory with your Panther Card

ARCHE - you can also borrow books from several local private colleges. Click here for a list of ARCHE schools. You may want to contact the library in advance to get further information about borrowing privileges (what kind of ID is needed, how long you can check out a book for, and so on)

Atlanta-Fulton County Public Library Catalog - GSU students & faculty may obtain library cards from the Atlanta-Fulton County Public Library, then borrow materials.


Use Interlibrary Loan to request books you find in the following catalogs
(or any other library catalog):