The STLCC Library Catalog is your gateway to finding all items, including books, which the College Libraries own.
The two basic methods for searching the catalog are by keyword and by LC subject heading. Because most library users are not familiar with the official Library of Congress (LC) subject headings, it's often a good idea to begin with a keyword search. Results of a keyword search can lead to appropriate subject headings. Ask a reference librarian for help with subject searching.
Useful keywords for this subject include, African American Literature, African American poems, African American poet, Black poet, Harlem Renaissance
Every item owned by an STLCC library is listed in the College's Library Catalog. Each listing is called a record. A powerful way to search for books on a particular topic is to perform a keyword search, which looks for records containing the words you use in your search.
Example keyword search: Harlem Renaissance
Narrowing your search with and. Example keyword search: "Harlem Renaissance" AND poetry
Using truncation. Example keyword search: poe* and African-American
Library of Congress (LC) subject headings are special, standardized words and phrases which describe the primary subject(s) on which a book focuses. Searching by subject heading rather than by keyword often allows you to look for books on a particular topic more efficiently.
Since LC subject headings are included in a book's catalog record, looking at the records you get from a keyword search can help you identify appropriate subject headings. Ask A Librarian for help with LC subject searching.
Below are just a few examples of subject headings you will find in the STLCC Catalog:
Keep an open mind. You may need to refine your topic, ask new questions, and repeat steps as you go along.
Identify and define your topic. Put your research topic into a question such as, "What is the debate surrounding vaccination refusal?" Now you can identify the main concepts and keywords, including alternate terms, for your topic.
Background reading will deepen your understanding and vocabulary around the topic, which will help you identify search terms and develop an effective research question. Subject encyclopedias (in print or in Credo Reference) are excellent resources.
Use ArcherSearch or the library catalog to find books.
Use ArcherSearch or individual databases to find articles from magazines, journals and newspapers. Choose appropriate databases for your topic.
Search for credible website resources. Try the librarian-recommended websites on this guide.
Always evaluate what you find. Consider timeliness, relevance, authority, accuracy, and purpose.
Cite your sources. Citing gives proper credit to the authors of materials you use and allows your professors to verify your conclusions.
Use the filters or limits to see just a subset of your search results. Depending on the tool you are using, search limits may show up in the left margin, at the top of the results, or below the search box.
Date limits are especially useful to filter out older, outdated material. You can usually choose a preset limit such as "current 5 years," or set a custom range of publication dates.
This will limit to only journals that publish articles that have undergone a rigorous peer-review process. These are usually articles that report on a specific study, analysis, experiment, or other piece of the research. Some scholarly/peer-reviewed articles are systematic reviews which survey a wide range of published peer-reviewed articles to give an overview of the current state of knowledge on the topic.
The Subject limit will help you narrow your results by subject terms. These are like tags or labels; they indicate that the book, article, or other source focuses on the subject of interest. Without this limit, you may find items that include your search words but are not about your topic. Keep in mind that different databases may use different subject terms.
The Full-text limit is already applied for most searches. It is very useful to filter out articles where you only have access to a citation or a description of an article, not the full the full article. Unless you are required to find everything out there is published on a given subject, this limit should be applied every time you search. If you do find resources that are not full text but would be useful to you, STLCC Libraries may be able provide them. See the Borrowing from Other Libraries page for details and the form for requests.
Learn to think critically about the source of information and the information within each source by using the Evaluate Your Sources guide.
St. Louis Community College Libraries
Florissant Valley Campus Library
Forest Park Campus Library
Meramec Campus Library
Wildwood Campus Library