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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

History 498K: The Jewish Atlantic World, 1450-1800

A course guide

1. The Online Catalog

Use the Online Catalog to find books. In the Online Catalog you can search for books by subject, or you identify the location within the Library of a particular book or journal.

Books and journals are organized in the library by subject. Each item is assigned one or more subject headings and a unique call number. Subject headings are standardized terms from the Library of Congress. The call number is based on the Dewey Decimal Classification.

2. I-Share

The UIUC Library is one of 75+ member libraries comprising the I-Share consortium. I-Share libraries share an online catalog, I-Share, and UIUC students, staff, and faculty can borrow directly from the other libraries in the consortium by placing a request through the catalog.

You can also search the UIUC catalog separately. When you use the Library Gateway, this is the first option under “Library Catalogs,” and normally you will want to start by searching UIUC only.

3. Why Bother with Subject Headings?

Why bother with subject headings when one can do keyword searching in the Online Catalog?

It's true that you can find sources on a topic by doing keyword searches. But if you limit yourself to keyword searching, you are likely to miss important material on your topic that uses other terms. If you only need two or three books, you can probably find what you need by doing keyword searches, but if you are doing historical research, you can’t afford to miss critical material on your topic. For a comprehensive subject search, search with subject headings as well as keywords.

A good way to identify subject headings for a topic is to do a keyword search in the online catalog using terms you think describe the topic and try to identify a few relevant books. Look at the full record for those books to see what subject headings were used, then do another search on those headings.

As a rule of thumb, use fairly broad headings, as well as the specific ones that describe your topic, in order to make sure you haven't inadvertently eliminated relevant material that is contained within works of larger scope. Most likely you will find multiple headings to describe your topic, and you should use all of them. You can narrow your search in the online catalog by combining subject headings (as a phrase) with keywords, using the “Advanced Search” option.

4. Some Example Subject Headings

  • Jews --History.
  • Jews --History --16th century.
  • Jews --Civilization.
  • Jews --Intellectual life.
  • Jews --Spain --Civilization.
  • Jews --Latin America --History.
  • Jews --Caribbean Area --Bibliography.
  • Jews -- West Indies -- History.
  • Jews --Brazil.
  • Jews --Netherlands Antilles --History.
  • Jews in Curaçao.
  • Jews --North America --History.
  • Jews --Migrations.
  • Jews --Europe --History.
  • Jews --Europe --History --16th century.
  • Jews --Europe --History --17th century.
  • Jews --Commerce.
  • Jews --Commerce --History.
  • Jews --Europe --Economic conditions.
  • Jews --Economic conditions.
  • Jews --Identity.
  • Jews --Attitudes.
  • Jews --Persecutions --Latin America.
  • Jews --Colonization.
  • Jews --Colonization --Brazil.
  • Europe --Ethnic relations.
  • Amsterdam (Netherlands) --Ethnic relations.
  • Sephardim --History.
  • Sephardim -- France -- History.
  • Sephardim -- Intellectual life.
  • Marranos --History.
  • Marranos --Brazil.
  • Judaism --Europe --History.
  • Jewish learning and scholarship --Europe.
  • Lost tribes of Israel --Early works to 1800.
  • Jewish merchants --Europe --History.
  • Jews --Legal status, laws, etc.
  • Jews --Legal status, laws, etc. --Italy.
  • Haskalah.
  • Haskalah --Bibliography.
  • Jewish refugees --West Indies --History.
  • Inquisition --Brazil, Northeast --History.
  • Christian converts.
  • Conversion --Christianity --History.
  • Slavery and Judaism.
  • Slavery (Jewish law).
  • Race relations --Religious aspects --Judaism.
  • Jewish slave traders.
  • Jewish Christians --Biography.
  • African Americans --Relations with Jews.

5. Using the Online Catalog

Books and journals are organized in the library by subject. Each item is assigned one or more subject headings and a unique call number. Subject headings are standardized terms generated by the Library of Congress. The call number is based on the Dewey Decimal Classification.

In Dewey, the first three numbers indicate the main subject, and additional numbers are added after a decimal point to narrow the subject. Books and journals on historical topics are usually classified in the 900s, although much of social history gets classified in the 300s. Travel accounts usually fall in the 910s, unless they are treated as literary works, in which case they will be classified in the 800s, or as social history (e.g., history of women) in the 300s. Religion (including missionary publications) are classified in the 200s. The “Dewey number” comprises the first part of the call number; the rest is derived from a system that denotes the first part of the author’s last name or the first word of the title.

A good way to identify subject headings for a topic is to do a keyword search in the online catalog using terms you think describe the topic and try to identify a few relevant books. Look at the full record for those books to see what subject headings were used, then do another search on those headings.

As a rule of thumb, use fairly broad headings, as well as the specific ones that describe your topic, in order to make sure you haven't inadvertently eliminated relevant material that is contained within works of larger scope. In all likelihood you will find multiple headings to describe your topic, and you should use all of them. You can narrow your search in the online catalog by combining subject headings (as a phrase) with keywords, using the “Advanced Search” option.

To search the online catalog, go to the Library Gateway (http://www.library.uiuc.edu) and click on “UIUC Library Online Catalog.”

The online catalog offers both “Quick Search” and “Advanced Search” options. Use “Advanced Search” to identify subject headings on your topic by searching on keywords, to combine subject headings (or elements from subject headings) in a Boolean search, or to combine keywords from any part of the record with subject headings to narrow your search.

6. Ebooks

In addition to the 12 million+ printed books available to you here in the Library, we also have a rapidly growing collection of digitized books.

Internet Archive & and Google Books. Millions of books digitized from the collections of North American and British research libraries, including University of Illinois. These are the two largest digitized book collections that are free to use.

Archive of Americana.Includes Early American Imprints, Series I: Evans, 1639-1800, and Early American Imprints, Series II: Shaw-Shoemaker, 1801-1819, as well as 3 major government documents collections: American State Papers, 1789-1838, U.S. Congressional Serial Set, 1817-1980, and Serial Set Maps, 1817-1980.

Early English Books Online (EEBO). English-language books printed between 1473 and 1700.

Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO). Fully searchable collection of nearly 150,000 English-language works published between 1701 an 1800. 

ACLS Humanities E-Book (formerly History E-Book Project). Includes more than 2,000 scholarly books (as of January 2009) in the humanities, made available in digital format by the   American Council of Learned Societies.

ARTFL Project (Analyse et Traitement Informatique de la Langue Française).Collection of French-language resources.