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ENGC91 - American Realisms

Research Guide for the Winter 2015 edition of ENGC91 - American Realisms

Finding 19th Century Material in the Library Catalogue

To begin searching the U of T Library Catalogue for 19th Century sources, start with a broad search for your topic.  Since we'll eventually be limiting our search to items published in the 19th Century, you'll want your search to be VERY broad.  If you're too specific, you may not find many 19th Century items on your topic.

Let's start just with a search for any items in the catalogue that contain the word "morality":

From the Library homepage, select the Catalogue link, rather than using the "Start Your Search" search box, for a more efficient book search:

Selecting the Library Catalogue

Next, simply type "morality" into the catalogue search box, and leave the dropdown menu below set to "Anywhere", so that we can find items that contain the word "morality" ANYWHERE in their catalogue record (title, subject heading, table of contents, etc...)

Catalogue search for the word "morality"

Next, we'll see the results of that search.

At this point we've found 9,366 items containing the word "morality" somewhere in their records.  We can now use "Publication year" under "Refine Results" on the left hand side of the results page to limit by the date of publication.

Open up the "Publication Year" refinement menu to limit your search to items published during a particular time period.  
As you'll see, there are 679 records in the catalogue that contain the word "morality" somewhere in the record, and that were published between 1800-1899:


Refine search by publication date


Now that we have a set of items from the 19th Century on the broad topic "morality", we can use the Subject Heading refinement to help us determine if the word we chose is also often used as an official "Subject Heading" in the catalogue.

In this case, the most frequently occurring Subject Heading within the records we've found is actually Ethics, not Morality, so let's take a look at those 394 records, by selecting "Ethics" from the list of official Subject Headings:

Limit search to Subject Heading "Ethics"

Note that at this point, our search is limited to the 394 items published between 1800-1899 that contain the Subject Heading "Ethics" and ALSO the word "morality" somewhere in the record.  

Since "Ethics" was our most frequently occurring Subject Heading, we should probably now eliminate the word "morality" from our search.  There may be items in the catalogue that have the Subject Heading "Ethics" but do NOT contain the word "morality" anywhere in the record, and these may also be of interest to us.  Click on the orange X next to "morality" to eliminate this word from your search requirements:

Eliminate keyword "morality" from the search in order to find ALL items with the subject heading "Ethics"

In this case, you'll find that we have 861 results after eliminating the word "morality" from our search.  

This means that there are 861 items published between 1800-1899 that contain the Subject Heading "Ethics" even though there were only 394 records that contained the Subject Heading Ethics AND the word "morality".  When starting with a keyword search, searching ANYWHERE in a record, and then refining your search with an official "Subject Heading" it's a good idea to get in to the habit of then eliminating your initial search term from your search string if you want to make sure that you're finding EVERY record that contains your desired Subject Heading and not just the records that contain BOTH your desired Subject Heading AND the word that you began your searching with!

Now, we can further limit our search by adding another Subject Heading to our search requirements. Conduct of Life looks interesting, and contains a manageable 62 records: 

Add the second Subject Heading "Conduct of Life"

Now, with just a few clicks we've 1) Discovered the existence of the official Subject Heading "Ethics", 2) Limited our search to only include items with that Subject Heading that were published between 1800-1899, and 3) Further limited our search to only the 62 items that contain the Subject Heading "Conduct of Life" in addition to the Subject Heading "Ethics".

Final search results of records containing the Subject Headings "Ethics" and "Conduct of Life" published between 1800-1899

To try a Search of the Catalogue, enter your broad search term below