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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

History 498: Getting Medieval: Medievalisms in the Modern World


Searching by subject

Subject headings are metadata (also called controlled vocabulary) terms found in every entry in the library catalog. A human being has studied the item and decided which of these pre-agreed-on terms best describe it. Bear in mind that those terms may be outdated or at times even offensive --they are part of the historical record as well!

A good way to find the relevant subject headings for your topic is to search for a known book (for example, from your syllabus, a reference work, or the footnotes and bibliography of a related reading) in the library catalog, then identify the subject headings in the catalog record:

screen shot showing subject headings in a library catalog record


Use the Advanced Search to search by subject headings specifically (rather than just keywords anywhere).


Digitized Book Collections

The Library has several large digitized book collections. Many of the books in these collections can be discovered by searching in the Library Catalog, but each collection also has its own search interface. Below are some of the digitized book collections most useful for this course:

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: