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Music in American History: Articles

Journal of American History

Search Strategies

Here are different strategies to use in your catalog and database searches:

1. Boolean -- use the words AND, OR, and NOT between keywords to narrow or expand your search. 

2. Basic vs. Advanced -- most databases have both options.  Advanced searching usually offers more options for limiting your results (by date, document type, language, etc.).   Typically, the advanced search screen has multiple search boxes for easier separation of key concepts (but you don't have to use more than one box).

3. Truncation -- A symbol at the end of a word stem provides for all variants on the word stem.  Often, the symbol for truncation is an asterisk (*), but the symbol varies among databases.    In GIL, the truncation symbol is the question mark (?).

For example, searching for urban* will retrieve: urban, urbanized, urbanism, and urbanization which will expand your results.

4. Wildcard -- A symbol within a word provides for all possible variants inside a word.  In many databases, this symbol is an asterisk (*), but the symbol varies among databases.  In GIL, the wildcard symbol is the question mark (?).

For example a search for wom*n will retrieve woman and women, which again will expand your results.

5.  Proximity -- This is a feature that allows you to search for words near each other.  This strategy is usually only available in databases where you are searching fulltext content.  So, you can use proximity searching in JSTOR and the Historical New York Times, but you cannot use proximity searching in library catalogs, Historical Abstracts, or Academic Search Premier. 

For example, in JSTOR, searching "masculinity imperialism"~10" finds articles with the words masculinity and imperialims within 10 words of each other.



You don't need to remember all the specialized searching characters.  Use the HELP PAGES within each database to determine the correct symbols and available searching options.

Key Article Databases

Click here for a full list of the secondary- and primary-source databases held by the GSU Library.

For off-campus access, use your Campus ID and password.

Getting the full article

1) First, look for a direct link to the article. Specifically, look for links that say "HTML Full Text" or "PDF Full Text."

2) If you don't see one of these links, look for a button next to article you want. Clicking this button will check for full text availability outside of the database you are currently searching. A new window will open and depending on what full text formats are available through the library, you will be see several link options:

Full Text Online
Means that electronic full text of the article is available from one of GSU Library's full text providers. Click this link to proceed to full text provider's site where you will look for a link to the article. If you are off campus, you will probably be asked for your CampusID/password. Once on the full text provider site, you may need to "drill down" to a specific volume/issue to access full text.

We May Have a Copy in Print
If this link appears as the first option, then no electronic full text is available. However, the library may have a print copy of the article. Clicking this link will search the GSU Library catalog, GIL, to see if the library owns any print volumes of the journal in which the article is published. If so, you will need to check the Recent Issues or Volumes Owned fields to see what volumes/issues are available.

Request This Item Through Interlibrary Loan
If neither electronic nor print access is available at GSU Library, you can click this link to access Illiad, GSU Library's system for requesting articles (and other materials) from other libraries. This service is free for GSU students/employees.

Occasionally, people encounter problems trying to access articles from home using the "Find It @ GSU" button. Sometimes pop-up blockers prevent the "Find It" window from opening, so check your browser settings. Additional information on the "Find It @ GSU" button feature can be found here.

Ask a librarian for help if you can't find what you need!