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History: Africa: Books, media, etc.

Books, media, etc. - what are they?

These are equivalent to what you would find on the shelf in a library.

  • Books on a single topic by one (or two or three...) authors.
  • Books which are edited volumes where each chapter is written by a different expert.
  • Audio-visual material such as DVDs, videos, CDs, etc.
  • Scores and librettos.

See the Articles tab for locating journals, magazines and newspapers.

Books, Media, etc. - how to search for them

  1. Try a title or keyword search on your topic.
  2. Look at several relevant records from the results list and note words and phrases from the "subject" area.
  3. Go back to the search screen and search BY SUBJECT using the words you identified in step 2.
  4. When you find something useful, either copy down the call number and location (if it is in our library) or submit an interlibrary loan

More detailed directions can be found on our Searching Databases page.

Major search tools for books

Searching BearCat (and other catalogs) for history

Use Basic Search to find books listed by author keyword and title keyword.

Books are also assigned subject terms in the catalog. A book is given the most specific subject(s) which fully describes its contents. Use Basic Search / Words in Subject search to look for specific subjects such as: AGRICULTURE--ENGLAND -- HISTORY, as well as broad subject headings such as EUROPE--HISTORY--18TH CENTURY.

Remember that books on broad subjects may well have sections dealing with the more specific topic you are researching.

Time periods are especially important when searching for history books. Each country or city will have time periods appropriate to that place. To find the time periods used for the history of a country, city, or region, do a Basic Search by “Subject begins with...…”. Type in the PLACE NAME and the word HISTORY. Then you can browse through screens of time period subdivisions. This is very useful for places with many history books in our collection.

Example: Great Britain History - you will see the many time periods of British history to choose from - in 3 groupings, listed one after the other.

  1. historical periods named by century, e.g.
    • Great Britain -- History -- 14th century
    • Great Britain -- History -- 18th century
  2. historical periods with date ranges, e.g.
    • Great Britain -- History -- 1066-1687
    • Great Britain -- History -- 1760-1789
  3. historical periods with names (listed alphabetically), e.g.
    • Great Britain -- History -- Edward VII (1901-1910)
    • Great Britain -- History -- George III, 1760-1820

Clearly, you will want to check all three sequential lists.

If you just use Basic Search / "All Fields" or "Words in Subject" for - Great Britain History - you get more than 2700 hits, with time periods all mixed together.

Also, use the SUBJECTS listed on the catalog records themselves to identify other useful search terms.

Can't find it here?

Browsing the stacks

DT Africa

  • 43 - 154 Egypt
  • 160 - 177 North Africa
  • 348 - 363.3 Central, Sub-Saharan Africa
  • 365 - 469 Eastern Africa
  • 470 - 671 West Africat
  • 491 - 516.9 British West Africa
  • 669 - 671 Islands
  • 1001 - 1190 Southern Africa (more)

Other aspects of African history will be throughout the collection, for ex. African education - in L African women - in HQ etc.

Searching for media


Crumb Library: 315-267-2485
Crane Library: 315-267-2451

Text Us! (Mon-Fri, 10 - 4): 315-277-3730

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SUNY Potsdam College Libraries
44 Pierrepont Ave
Potsdam, NY 13617