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English 2100: Monsters, Madness, and Metamorphosis: Searching

Resources in Special Collections for students in Magi Smith's English 2100 class, fall 2013.

How to Search Special Collections in MERLIN

Did you know the MERLIN library catalog will let you limit your search to Special Collections?  Here's how to do it.

Get set up to search

Starting from the main MERLIN screen, click on the Advanced tab.

Advanced search tab

On the Advanced Search page, enter your keywords at the top.  You can use the dropdown menu to search within Author, Title, or Subject (Table of Contents and Notes are not advised for Special Collections materials).  Or you can leave it open to search all available fields.

Keyword search

Limit your results

Scroll down to Add Limits.  Under Specific Library Location, choose MU Ellis Special Coll.

Limit to Special Collections

You can use additional limits such as language or year of publication.  Because Special Collections holdings include lots of microfilms, it's useful to limit by Material Type

Limit by material type

Hold down the CTRL key to make multiple selections.  Some useful limits include:

  • Looking for books, pamphlets, journals, etc.?  Limit to Books and Journals/Newspapers.
  • Posters - limit to Images
  • Maps - limit to Maps
  • Microfilm, microfiche, etc - limit to Microforms

Keywords to search for

When searching materials in Special Collections, it sometimes helps to use terms that we consider out of date.  For instance, you may find early works on mental illness by searching keywords like lunatic and lunacy.  Some other terms for this class include:

  • Zoology
  • Anatomy
  • Medicine
  • Psychology
  • Nervous (as in nervous disorders, another early term for mental illness)
  • Transformation
  • Mutation

Use wild cards and Boolean operators to search for several forms of a word at once.  More search tips.

You can easily refine an existing search.  Click on the Modify Search button at the top of the results screen.

Modify search

Put your additional search terms into the second box (and possibly the third, if you have more than one).

Refine search


Kelli Hansen's picture
Kelli Hansen
401 Ellis Library
(573) 882-3755