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Russ4880/Geog4880 Guide to Resources: Environment and Empire in Russia and Eurasia

General Research

Discover@MU is the general search box for MOST, but not all, of the Libraries' collections, both online and in print. It's designed for easy keyword searching across many databases, but some tips are helpful. Most of these appear after you have results on your screen.

  1. There are various ways to filter your search in the left sidebar: by date, language, subject, type of publication, etc.
  2. The drop-down menus in the search box also provide ways to make your search more precise by searching in a specific part of the record, e.g. in the author's name, or the subject heading.
  3. Keep an eye on subject headings to learn new terms to search with.
  4. Be aware of variant spellings or transliterations and use truncation (*) or wildcards (?) to search these. e.g. Nevsk* Prospe?t retrieves both Nevsky Prospect and Nevski Prospekt.
  5. Search both broad and narrow terms. For example, something specifically about Nevsky Prospect will be tagged with that name, but if it's more general, it could be under Saint Petersburg (Russia) and even more broad materials would be under Russia (or USSR or Soviet Union)
  6. Here are some useful sub-headings that get tacked onto geographic places or topics:
  • city planning
  • description and travel
  • fiction
  • history
  • in art
  • in literature
  • intellectual life
  • personal narratives
  • pictorial works
  • social life and customs
  • sources
  1. Many things will appear immediately online. Otherwise the FindIt@MU button or a request button will appear to guide you to the online version or allow you to request delivery of an item: a pdf for articles or chapters from books, or to have a book retrieved and held for you.
  2. Don't be afraid of books! Most academic discussion in the humanities still happens in books, but many of these are collections of articles rather than long-form works. Longer books will also help you with context and perspective, even if you simply browse through them. Articles are necessarily narrow in focus, so can give you a pixelated impression of a topic.

There are some databases that are not searched by Discover@MU and some that are, but offer more precise search options through their individual search screens. Here are the ones I think would be useful for this class: