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Generational Differences: Home

English 1000

Historical Background Information

We have many additional books which focus on decades. View our holdings under these subject headings:

If you would like to find old magazine articles, use the Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature. Simply look up your topic in whatever year you wish. You can also find decade overviews under these terms: "Nineteen Fifties," Nineteen Sixties," "Nineteen Seventies" etc. The Reader's Guide is located behind the Reference Desk on the first floor of Ellis Library. There is also an electronic version of much of the Reader's Guide called Reader's Guide Retrospective, 1890-1982.

Books on Cultural Conditions and Attitudes of a Previous Time

You can find contemporary works that analyze attitudes of previous generations, or you could look for books published during the time period that you are researching.

1) For general works on 20th century social history of the U.S., try these subject headings in our MERLIN catalog:

2) You can also check for attitudes by demographic group. Here are just a few examples:

3) When searching for books on any specific topic, it's usually best to start with a Keyword search. A keyword search will check for words in the title, subject headings and sometimes even the table of contents. Construct powerful keyword searches using parentheses ( ), asterisks *, and boolean operators such as AND and OR. See instructions on how to use special operators at the bottom of MERLIN's Advanced Search screen.

  • Examples: (mixed or interracial) and marriag* and s:attitude*
  • Use Advanced Search function to find a book with the word "Nutrition" in the title, published between 1954 and 1957

4) Expanding the search

  • After finding a relevant book using a keyword search, scroll down and click on one of the book's subject headings. This will lead you to additional books on that topic.
  • Click on the MOBIUS button to find more books on that subject in the statewide MOBIUS library system.

5) Getting your hands on the actual book

  • Look at the library location, call number, and availability. To find out the physical location of a book in Ellis library, use location guides (yellow slips), signs by elevators, or click the hotlink in MERLIN's location box.
  • If a book is listed as NOT CHECKED OUT but you can't find it on the shelf, check the reshelving areas, both on the floor the book should be on and in the Shelving Room.

Articles on Cultural Conditions and Attitudes of a Previous Time

In addition to the Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature mentioned above, If you want to search old newspaper articles for topics, you can use Proquest Historical Newspapers. It covers the New York Times (1851-2001) and the Wall Street Journal (1889-1987).

As good as it is, the Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature is not the best source to use to find scholarly writings. Your assignment indicates you will need to use at least some scholarly sources in this paper. The library offers a guide which explains the difference between scholarly and popular periodicals.

To find scholarly articles, go to MU Library's Databases List. We suggest the following databases for this assignment:

  • America History and Life
    This database makes it easy to zero in on a particular decade and examine a very specific topic. To see an example, search the subject of "Courtship" in any decade you wish.
  • iPOLL
    Contains results of public opinion polls taken from 1935 to the present. Search for questions by keyword and limit results by date of the poll.
  • Lexis-Nexis Academic
    Also offers results of opinion polls and allows limits by date. Get to it by selecting "Reference" from left navigation bar inside the database, then click on "Polls and Surveys." There is some overlap between this and the iPOLL database.
  • Academic Search Premier
    Indexes articles from popular magazines, newspapers and scholarly journals. You may limit searches to articles in scholarly journals by clicking a checkbox.
  • Choose a different database that specializes in your topic.

Some databases provide the article in full text. Other databases provide just the citation. If your database provides the article citation only, then use the Electronic Journals link from the library home page to see if another database carries the journal in full text for the issue/date you want. If you do not find an online version, then search MERLIN to see if our library owns the paper version of the journal you need. Current issues of journals, magazines and newspapers in Ellis are shelved in the Current Periodicals Reading Room. Older issues are generally shelved by call number among the books. You may make a copy of the article at the Copy Service.

Citing Your Sources

If you use articles you obtained in full-text version directly from a library database, the citation protocol will be different than if you had found the article in paper copy in the library.

Subject Librarian

Anne Barker's picture
Anne Barker
164 Ellis Library


Aaron Harms