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Minorities and Philosophy (MAP) Resources: Finding Books

Finding Dissertations

Many universities require that dissertations/theses be deposited in their institutional repository, which is usually maintained by the university library. (Our institutional repository is called ScholarWorks -- see below). Unless the graduate student was able to (and chose to) request that the thesis not be made available, theses in institutional repositories are openly available and can usually be found via a Google search.

So, if you are searching in Dissertations & Theses and you find a useful-sounding dissertation which is not available through that database, try googling the title and author. This is more likely to work for more recent theses. However, a thesis author may choose retroactively to make their thesis available this way, so it's worth checking even for an older thesis. 

Google Web Search

Click here for GSU Philosophy publications in Scholarworks.

Start By Searching Our Library Catalog

Use GILFind or the "Library Catalog" link 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. (You can request contact-free pickup from lockers -- at the top of the stairs by the Library North entrance -- for books from all of these locations). 

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!"

Check out our Ebooks research guide 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. 

To Search with Subject Terms....

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 Istanbul and Constantinople, or Malcolm Little and Malcolm X. 

You can search in GILFind 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.


Like the Library of Congress Classification Outline, the Library of Congress Subject Headings (which are used by virtually every higher-education institutional library in the US) are historical and reflect the times during which the terms were created (or items were cataloged). Groundbreaking works that changed discourses would have been cataloged according to the terminology available at the time. For example, consider the subject headings for Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick's Epistemology of the Closet, published in 1990:


Searching in GILFind: Advanced Search

GILFind, like many databases, has an Advanced Search option which lets you

  • Combine search terms using Boolean logic (as we saw with database searching)
  • Limit by date of publication, if desired
  • Limit by source type (books, journal titles, and so on -- use "Visual Materials" to find films)
  • Limit by language of publication (WAY less robust optionwise than in databases, though)
  • Search by author, or title, or subject term (use dropdowns)

Searching on "Any Field" in Advanced Search will search for keywords in all text fields, including but not limited to 

  • Author
  • Title
  • Subject Terms
  • Table of contents (*if included in the record)
  • Summary or abstract (*if included in the record)

Trying your keywords and selecting "Any Field" may turn up a book chapter or essay in a collection, or words in a summary that might not turn up in the more formal fields. (Notice that only the "Summary" section in the Epistemology of the Closet record refers to the homosexual/heterosexual dichotomy that is central to the book!)

Library of Congress Classification Outline

The Library of Congress Classification Outline (LCCO) gives an overview of what the different letters and letter combinations used in call numbers mean!

  • Click on an individual letter to get the subcategories (i.e. H breaks down into subcategories like HB, HD, HQ, and so on).
  • Click on a subcategory to get a more detailed outline of the subjects included in each subcategory (that's what the numbers following the letters mean!)

Most academic libraries (i.e. colleges and universities) use the Library of Congress Classification Outline, so once you've begun to recognize which letter/number combinations seem relevant to you, you can use that combination at any other college/university library. 

The LCCO is a historical product, and it's nearly impossible to miss the Western/imperial/white/masculinist biases baked into it. 

This book is a study of how the Library of Congress has classified homosexuality and related terms. Very interesting study on how subject terms evolve:

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