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Controversial Topics: Find books

A library research guide on the best sources of information for controversial topics and different points of view.

Find books

Use the STLCC Library Catalog to find books, videos, and other materials in the four STLCC campus libraries.

Limit to your campus

Use the drop-down box to limit your search to just your campus. But keep in mind that you can request books to be sent from other campuses, or even other college & university libraries if the resources aren't available at your campus. Ask a librarian for details.

MOBIUS

MOBIUS is a state-wide consortium of libraries, mostly at colleges and universities. You can search the combined MOBIUS library catalog to find books at any member library. Many (not all!) books are requestable - you can request to have a book sent from another library to yours so you can check it out. This usually takes about 2-5 days.

Book series

Book series on controversial topics
Each book in these series covers a single broad subject, giving the arguments on different sides of the issues. You can also find some statistics and historical background. You might want to use just a single chapter from one of these books. Opposing Viewpoints is also available as a database. To find a list of books in each series, search for the series by title in the STLCC Library Catalog.

  1. Contemporary World Issues
  2. Current Controversies
  3. Information Plus
  4. Opposing Viewpoints
  5. Taking Sides
  6. Reference Shelf

Keyword & Subject searching

The STLCC Library Catalog and most online databases can be searched using keywords.  A keyword search will find any listing that contains the word or words, whether it is in the subject heading, title, description, author’s name, or a word from a chapter heading or description of the book.  Keyword searching is a powerful search feature which can result in thousands of hits. 

Caution!  When you type just one word, you will get a listing of all items that include your search word anywhere in the description, such as the subject headings, title, or the author’s name. For example, if want books about the city of Chicago, you probably don't want to include books about the artist Judy Chicago, or the Chicago Review Press books on practicing to take professional nursing exams. A subject search would give you better results in this case.

Use the Boolean Search Tips to focus search statements to produce better, more precise results in keyword searches, and check Subject Searching to see if it works best for your topic. You'll probably want to use a combination of the two.

Boolean Search Tips (for Keyword searching)

Boolean logic is a system of operators, the most common being AND and OR, which can be used to link keywords and phrases in order to perform precise searches.

Use the operator AND to narrow your search.  For example, education AND technology will find results containing both of these keywords—even if they do not appear next to each other.

Several keywords may be used to narrow searches with the AND operator. To find information on Internet security in the banking industry, you might use:

Internet AND security AND banking

Using the OR operator broadens or widens a search to include documents containing either keyword.  The OR search is useful when there are several common synonyms for a concept.  To find information on the topic of weightlifting use the keywords weightlifting or bodybuilding.

  weightlifting OR bodybuilding

The computer searches for all documents containing the word weightlifting and all documents containing bodybuilding. In other words, all documents containing either the word "weightlifting" or the word "bodybuilding" will be retrieved.  The OR search usually produces large numbers of documents.

Truncation offers another strategy to make your searching more efficient.  You may insert a truncation symbol after the root or beginning of a word.  The results will include variations of the word.  The most common truncation symbol is the asterisk (*). 

For example, a search for:

psycho* 

will find records that have any of the words:

psychology, psychological, psychologist, psychotic, etc.

Note:  Occasionally databases may use a different symbol.  Always check the database’s help section if the truncation symbol is not providing the results you expect.

Subject searching

Use Subject searching when your topic is broad and/or can be described in a word or two. The STLCC Library Catalog uses standard Library of Congress subject headings, and most broad headings are broken down into smaller subdivisions. For example, search for Death Penalty. You will be referred to the subject heading Capital Punishment. Under Capital Punishment, you can find a list of related subjects and a breakdown of subdivisions for specific countries, states, and aspects of capital punishment such as moral and ethical aspects, political aspects, history, or case studies.

St. Louis Community College Libraries

Florissant Valley Campus Library
3400 Pershall Rd.
Ferguson, MO 63135-1408
Phone: 314-513-4514

Forest Park Campus Library
5600 Oakland
St. Louis, MO 63110-1316
Phone: 314-644-9210

Meramec Campus Library
11333 Big Bend Road
St. Louis, MO 63122-5720
Phone: 314-984-7797

Wildwood Campus Library
2645 Generations Drive
Wildwood, MO 63040-1168
Phone: 636-422-2000