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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Thinking Historically About Food (HIST 200)

Library Catalogs

Searching the Library Catalog for Books about Food History

You can search the Library Catalog by author, title, keyword (words that appear anywhere in the information about the book), or subject. "Subject" refers to a controlled vocabulary (agreed-on set of terms), in this case the Library of Congress subject headings. Some useful subject terms:

  • food history
  • cooking history
  • food habits
  • food social aspects


To find primary sources, try these strategies:

-Search by date of publication to find sources that were published during the time period you're researching OR

-Use the advanced search option and include one or more of these Library of Congress Subject Heading subdivisions (genres) in your search:

  • Correspondence
  • Sources
  • Diaries
  • Personal narratives
  • Interviews
  • Speeches
  • Documents
  • Archives
  • Early works to 1800
  • Manuscripts

Digitized Book Collections

In the last two decades, mass digitization projects have led to the creation of large online digital libraries. Because of copyright restrictions, typically only materials in the public domain are freely available online. This includes, however, most works published before 1923, most government publications, and many works whose authors or publishers have released them into the public domain.

Interlibrary Loan

At some point in your research, you will likely identify a book that the Library does not own, and that is not available through I-Share. You can have the Library borrow a copy of the book or journal article from a library that does own it. Because these are loans between libraries (our library borrows it on your behalf from another library), this service is called interlibrary loan. To initiate an interlibrary loann, you will use a tool called Illiad: