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Central American Studies


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When searching for books, here are a few strategies to start with:

  1. If you have the title of the book you want, do a Title (start of) search to find the call number
  2. If you are not sure of where to start, do a KEYWORD search for relevant terms or phrases (put the phrases in "quotation marks").
  3. Use ? to truncate a word, e.g., american? will retrieve american and americans.
  4. Do a subject heading search in a catalog.
  5. If you find a useful title, click on the Subject(s): to get a list of subject headings that will lead to other books on the same topic
  6. If you already have a relevant book or article in hand, use its bibliography to find other sources.
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Remote and online access

What about Google Book Search?

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Though still in beta, Google Book Search can be a useful tool for discovering books. However, keep these suggestions in mind for making the most of your Google book searching:

  • Use the advanced search screen so that you can do more targeted searches. For example, do a subject search rather than a keyword search if you are looking for literature or criticism in a particular period or genre (e.g., "medieval literature).
  • Remember that Google is a commercial site that is designed to get you to buy things.  Be sure to use the "Find it in a library" link to see if we have it here at UCLA.
  • Keep in mind that not everything is in Google Book Search, so don't assume that if a book is not there that it doesn't exist. Use Google in addition to library catalogs and databases, not instead of them.