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Library Research Guides

History 202: Doing History

A research guide for students in History 202: Doing History, the gateway seminar for history concentrators.

Using Subject Terms to Find Primary Sources in Mirlyn

You can refine your searches in Mirlyn by using subject terms that describe materials according to type.  

For example, if you are looking for diaries kept by soldiers fighting in the Civil War, you might use the following subject terms: "Civil War" AND "United States" one one line and then diaries OR personal narratives on another.

Subject Terms that specify types of materials:

  •  archival resources
  •  archives
  • atlases
  • bibliography
  • biography
  • broadsides
  • case studies
  • charts, diagrams
  • concordances
  • correspondence
  • diaries
  • dictionaries
  • encyclopedias
  • handbooks, manuals, etc.
  • illustrations
  • indexes
  • manuscripts—catalogs
  • maps
  • newspapers
  • periodicals 
  • personal narratives
  • photograph collections
  • pictorial works
  • portraits
  • sermons
  • sources
  • speeches in Congress
  • speeches, addresses, etc.
  • statistics

Searching for Books in Mirlyn: The Basics

In order to find books in the library catalog (Mirlyn), start at

From the basic search screen, you can search by author, title, keyword (all fields), or subject.

From the advanced search screen, you can combine searches.  For example, you can search for a book by a particular author with a specific keyword in the title.  You can also limit by library, publication date, language, etc.

Search Strategies:

  • An asterix (*) or question mark (?) can be used to truncate search terms, i.e., to find words that have a common root.  Use an asterix for multiple letters (minim* will find minimum, minimize, minimal) and a question mark for single letters (wom?n will find both woman and women).
  • Use quotation marks to search for exact phrases ("ocean tourism").
  • You can use a connector (AND, OR, or NOT) to widen or limit your search.

Mirlyn Book Record

All the basic information about an item is included in the Mirlyn record.

Finding Books at Other Libraries

Library Catalogs that include books at other libraries:

WorldCat shows what materials are held by over 57,000 libraries worldwide (including most libraries in North America). Includes over 62 million records describing books, periodicals, sound recordings, videos, musical scores, archival materials, maps, electronic resources, and much more, in over 400 different languages.

The Center for Research Libraries is a particularly good place to check for microfilm sets of periodicals. You can request CRL materials through interlibrary loan--just make sure to include a note indicating that the item is held at CRL.

If MLibrary doesn't have a book that you need, there are two ways to request it:

UBorrow is a consortial program that allows you to request books from any other CIC library. The books generally arrive faster than through ILL.

Interlibrary loan (ILL) allows you to request books from libraries all over the world.