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HST 268 & 269: African History to 1870 and The Colonial Encounter in Africa: Books and More

Dr. Plageman

ProQuest Ebook Central

Making the Most of Books & E-Books

  • ALWAYS browse the books near the one you are looking for. If there is one book on your topic, chances are there are more and they will all be shelved together. In our discovery catalog, look for the "Virtual Browse" at the bottom of the item record to see both physical and digital items that are "shelved" next to a particular title.
  • Briefly look through the table of contents and/or indexes for relevant material for your paper.
  • Ebooks are full-text searchable, so search for specific keywords within the text to identify the most relevant sections of the book for your research question. 
  • Read the introduction, foreword, etc. to get a feel for the book's purpose and point of view. Sometimes the introduction to a complicated topic gives you enough of a summary to help you form your own thesis or structure your own paper. 
  • Take note of appendices that may contain maps, chronologies, etc. 
  • Use the notes and/or bibliographies at the end of each chapter or the end of the book to point you to other secondary and primary sources.
  • If you're able, download the relevant chapters as PDFs so you can mark them up with notes, either digitally or by printing them out. 

Primo Search Box: Everything

Finding Books and More

Use Primo to locate materials available through ZSR Library. Search by keyword, author, title, or subject, or use the Advanced Search option to combine these features. From the search box, choose "Library Catalog" to search just books, ebooks, films, and similar materials. Choose "Everything" to include individual journal and magazine/news articles, government documents, and HathiTrust books in your search. 

Books may serve as either primary or secondary sources, depending on the content and when they were written. Books may also contain references to primary source material in the text or in the bibliography. 

You can start with a keyword search to identify relevant items. From there, look at the subject headings used to describe that item to identify other potential items (click on the subject heading to see all other items that are tagged with that subject).

Not able to access materials on campus? Use the facets on the left side to limit your search to items Available Online.  

Example:

screenshot of subject headings on precolonial Africa

To locate potential primary sources, look for genres/subject headings that contain the generic term, sources, or more specific terms such as diaries, letters, correspondence, autobiography, interviews, or personal narratives. 

screenshot of genre for east african history sources

Some call number ranges that may be helpful: 

  • DT > History of Africa 
  • KQ-KTZ > Law of Africa

If you can't find the information you need through the ZSR Library's online catalog, try searching WorldCat, which includes holdings information from other libraries. You can request these books through Interlibrary Loan if you are on campus. (Remember that it may take 1-2 weeks or more for items to arrive through Interlibrary Loan, so plan ahead!) Note that libraries are not allowed to loan ebooks through Interlibrary Loan. In cases where you are unable to access the physical book, but just need a portion of the book, you may be able to request a chapter or two be scanned and emailed to you, rather than a physical copy. You can also check for full text ebooks through resources such as the Internet Archive. Contact me using the links to the right if you have questions! 

Librarian

Kathy Shields's picture
Kathy Shields
Contact:
shielddk@wfu.edu
453 ZSR Library
336.758.5124
Website
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