Skip to Main Content

HI 240: Ordinary Women in World History 1500 to the Present

Finding Books

Begin by searching our catalog.


Keyword searches are very broad and will find every item that mentions the words you searched for. This can be great if you want to browse, but there are other ways to search that can help you narrow down your topic.


Subject headings are the specific way that libraries like to organize works on the same subject, so that way when you find one item, you can easily find all the others with that same subject. Here are some examples you can try searching under subject in the catalog, about women's history:

  • Women -- History
  • Women -- History -- 18th century
  • Housewives -- History
  • Female friendship
  • Women -- Political activity
  • Feminism -- History
  • Courtship
  • Sex role -- History
  • Women spies
  • Women -- Social conditions
  • Social role
  • United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Women.
  • Prostitution
  • Women slaves
  • Women household employees -- History
  • Working class women
  • Women composers
    • You may be noticing a theme that things like occupations and general states of being (like 'slave')  often have a qualifier of "women" or "female" in front of them.
  • Women caregivers -- History
  • Patriarchy

  • Keep your search terms very general
  • Do your search different ways for different results
  • Explore the additional subject terms inside the record each item you look at.

A Note About Names

Let’s start off using Ida B Wells for an example. Put in her name as a keyword search and you get over 80 results. Which is fine if you are doing a broad search. But let's say we want to first find the books that are very specifically about or by her.

Let’s put her name in as a author. In both a subject search and an author search with the name of a person, you need to put the last name first. In this case I put in Wells, Ida B. The catalog then gave me this result:

  • Yes, you will want to click or the blue link with the "official" form of her name. Even if you do not know the full name of a person, the catalog will usually make a suggestion.
  • From this, you will get a list of books or essays that Ida B. Wells was the author of. 



Now let's say I did a subject search for Dickinson, Emily, some of the results I get are:  

  • Dickinson, Emily, 1830-1886.
  • Dickinson, Emily, 1830-1886 -- Aesthetics.
  • Dickinson, Emily, 1830-1886 -- Relations with men.
  • Dickinson, Emily, 1830-1886 -- Political and social views.




If you find any of this confusing, please ask a librarian! We are always happy to help.

Finding ebooks in the catalog

Let's say that you want to look for ebooks in our catalog. After performing a search, click on the Modify Search button, shown below:

Then under Material Type select Ebooks and click Search.