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World Languages and Cultures: Search Strategies

A guide for finding library resources for language classes.

Searching the library catalog by Language* is the most general way to start. You'll get a mix of books, films, and other materials from the library catalog. In this particular search, the asterisk (*) attached to the end of "language" opens up the search to find results for “language”, “languages” and other word variations.

This “language*” search is a good starting point, but it will yield too many results for most situations. There are several ways to narrow your search. For instance, you can either add the specific language (such as German, French, Spanish, etc.) you are looking for to your search terms, or you can select a specific language from the left-hand side of the results page under "Language".

For all languages typed in as a search term, note the “Topic” section on the left. These "Topic" tags can help you sort through the nuances of the name of the language -- for instance, Spanish has topic tags like "Spanish Language," "Spanish Literature in Europe," and "Spanish Literature in America, Asia, and Africa." Be sure to click on the “Show More” link, as some languages have many nuances. In essence, the “Topic" tags point to literature, drama, and other aspects of these languages, which can be useful.

The "Topic" section on the left-hand side of the screen is also useful for a simple Language* search because it allows you to pick a specific subject related to language, such as Literature, Education, or Philosophy.

Tip: search strategies like these are also useful for finding articles and other online resources in the library’s databases.