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Central American Studies


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.

Remote and online access

What about Google Book Search?

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.