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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. Use the "Place Request" link in the book's record to request a book from a GSU campus other than your own. GILFind also lists other materials in the library - including microfilm, dissertations, movies, music and special collections.

New! 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. 

To request a book from a GSU library:

  1. Click "Sign in" in the upper right-hand corner and sign in with your Campus ID and Password.
  2. Search for the book in the catalog.
  3. In the book's record, under "Get It," click on the name of the library with an "1 Available" copy.
  4. Click "Request" and select whichever GSU campus you want the book sent to in "Pickup Location."
  5. Click the orange "Request" button to submit.
  6. You will be notified by email when this book is available for pickup at the circulation desk on LN 1.

To request a book from any other USG campus via GIL Express: (click here for list of USG campuses)

  1. Click "Sign in" in the upper right-hand corner and sign in with your Campus ID and Password.
  2. Select "University System of Georgia" in the dropdown search box and search for the book.
  3. Click "More USG Libraries/GIL Express Request."
  4. Click the name of a USG library that shows as "Available" with a green dot. 
  5. Click "Request." The default "Pickup Institution" here should be "Georgia State University." If it is NOT, select "Georgia State University" from the list of schools. (Yes, it's silly that that list is not in alphabetical order. That is beyond my control, sadly). 
  6. Select whichever GSU campus you want the book sent to in "Pickup Library."
  7. Click the orange "Request" button to submit.
  8. You will be notified by email when this book is available for pickup at the circulation desk on LN 1.

You can also go to any GSU or USG Library and check out books in person using your Panthercard. 

A keyword search is a good place to start if you are looking for information on a topic. If you have more specific information, you can also search by title, subject or author.

Need more options? Try "Advanced Search" and "Browse Search" for more ways to search. 

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

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 - with a special ARCHE borrower's card, you can check out books from several local private colleges. Click here for information about ARCHE schools and getting a borrower's card

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):