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Library Research Guides

Popular Culture

Provides resources for popular culture research at the University of Michigan.

Find books (and other stuff)

Mirlyn, library catalog (Find periodicals - newspapers, journals and magazines - books, movies, and more)


  • Search for books and other stuff by keyword, subject, title, author, etc.
  • Need a specific periodical?  Check the library's coverage of a particular periodical/source (i.e., a newspaper, magazine, news outlet, etc.) by looking up the title in Mirlyn, the library catalog. From the drop-down menu, choose "Journal/Serial name" and search for the title. For example, you can view the Mirlyn record for TelevisionWeek (a tv trade publication) here. The "holdings" tab tells you that we have electronic access to TelevisionWeek through several different databases, with different dates of coverage.


Searching for Pop Culture

Locating popular culture materials can be tricky. The following search terms may be good starting places for popular culture research, when you are searching Mirlyn or in another database.

Search terms for general materials related to popular culture:

  • popular culture
  • popular culture + region/location (i.e, popular culture + united states)
  • mass culture
  • mass communication
  • mass media
  • film/television/music + society
  • film/television/music + contemporary society
  • film/television/music reviews
  • public opinion

Searching for specific items:
Make sure to search by the item name, in quotation marks, as well as the applicable year. As an example let's search Mirlyn for the 1974 film adaptation of Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby

Search term: Great Gatsby

Results: a long list of books, movies and critical analysis that feature The Great Gatsby as a keyword or title word.


Search term: "Great Gatsby" + 1974

Results: The correct movie is returned as the first search result.

Search for items using a combination of known information such as the title, preferably in quotes, as well as the date or author.

Handy tips and tricks to help you search more effectively

SEARCH TIPS for Mirlyn, library databases, and the web (applicable to many search engines, including Google)



Put phrases in quotation marks:  "hurricane katrina"    "social media"   "campaign finance reform"



Use an asterisk * for truncation (to find any ending of a term):  communicat* will find communication, communicates, communicating, communicator, etc.



Many different keywords may describe the same or related concepts

(movies, film, cinema, motion pictures)

(refugees, migrants, asylum seekers)



To search for ANY  one of a group of terms, use OR and parentheses:  (movies OR film OR cinema)



To search for ALL terms, use AND:  violence AND movies AND children


COMBINE the above strategies 

violence AND (movies OR film OR cinema OR "motion pictures") AND (children OR kids OR adolescents)



To be effective and thorough, go back and try searching multiple times with many different keywords