Use subject headings to zero in on the materials most relevant to your topic.
Click the "Get this" button on an item's catalog page to have it delivered to the campus library building of your choice. If the item is unavailable, you can use the button to request the item from an alternate source.
Not finding what you need at the University of Michigan library? Use subject headings to search these other catalogs for material relevant to your topic!
Once you have found something that interests you, use the information in the item's catalog record to request it through Interlibrary Loan (ILL). Depending on the item, this may take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks: leave yourself plenty of time by starting your search early.
Search for primary sources more efficiently by using subject headings instead of keywords.
Check out this video for more information on how to use them to make your searches more effective!
"Subject Headings" (video by Western University).
You can enter search terms of your own on the Library of Congress Subject Headings Search page to find the corresponding subject headings.
You can also backtrack to find subject headings: look at the subject headings associated with a given item in a catalog or article in a database and use them as search terms to find sources that fall under the same subject.
Different databases have different approaches towards subject headings, so you may need to adjust your approach depending on where you are conducting your search.
To find primary sources specifically, couple the topic of your subject heading with relevant subheadings that relate to the historical time period, place of origin, and item format of the materials that interest you.
These "complex subjects" (containing more than one idea) have their own particular notation.