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National History Day: Book Search Tips

Finding Books at VSU

To locate books at Valdosta State University's Odum Library, you will want to navigate to the library home page. There are many ways that this can be accomplished. 

•  From the Valdosta State University home page, you can click on Quick Links at the top and then click Library.

•  Alternatively, you can use Google and search for Odum Library. 

To search for books at Odum Library, you can click on the Books & Journals tab. This will take you to the catalog where you can search for your topic as well as some of the keywords suggested below if you are interested in finding primary sources. We recommend using the Advanced Search. 


Library home page



Examples of Searching for Primary Sources in Library Catalog

If your topic is Rosa Parks, you can search in the catalog for "Rosa Parks."

  •  Helpful hint: Quotations are helpful to keep phrases together in your search, just like in Discover GALILEO. 


Search for Rosa Parks in the library catalog. Search results limited to physical books and books on the third floor

It is worth browsing Subjects to see if there are ones that align with your topic and/or assignment. 


Subjects found on the left hand side from a search for Rosa Parks


From there, you can connect the "Rosa Parks" keyword with one of the suggestions in Keywords to use in GIL Catalog.  

*Helpful hint: When connecting keywords in a GIL-Find catalog search it is important to capitalize the words - AND, OR, NOT - that link the two keywords together.

So if you were looking for interviews and Rosa Parks, you could search: 

"Rosa Parks" AND Interview


Can't Find a Book on Your Topic?


If you cannot find a book on your specific topic, think about the bigger picture. Is there a search term that you can use to help uncover primary sources? 

For example, if there were no books about Rosa Parks, we might trying searching for: 

"Civil Rights" AND Interview


Keywords to use in GIL Catalog

Search for your topic and add one of the primary source keywords listed below.

Example: Rosa Parks AND correspondence

Primary Source Keywords

• charters
• correspondence
• diaries
• early works
• interviews
• manuscripts
• oratory
• pamphlets
• personal narratives
• sources
• speeches
• letters
• documents