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FA 199A: Methods and Approaches in the History of Art

Finding books located in other libraries


  • A combined (union) catalog for most of the libraries in the United States and many foreign libraries as well.
  • The best way to find books and journals not at Brandeis. 
  • You can request ILL (interlibrary loan) directly from a WorldCat record by clicking on the "Request Item" button. More about interlibrary loan.

Creative Arts Librarian

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Lisa Zeidenberg
Farber Library, Floor 2

Boolean logic


Finding Books, Journals, and Videos: Searching the Library Catalog

Use Brandeis Library OneSearch to search the online catalog of the Brandeis Library. Choose Library Catalog from the drop-down menu options to search for books, journals, and videos in the library collections.

  • If you have already identified the book(s) you need, you can use the Advanced Search to search the Library Catalog by Title or by Author to locate the item(s) in the library.

  • If you are trying to identify books that will be useful for your research, search the Library Catalog by keyword, and use the Subjects listed in the left margin to find related materials.

  • Subject analysis of topic for effective keyword searching: who--what--where--when

    • To find useful books (or articles) that focus on topics beyond a particular artist yet include this artist within the theme of the book, an analysis of terms associated with your artist can provide powerful keywords for searching.

    • This analysis should include (as appropriate): a particular group that included the artist (school, race, gender, etc.), the particular medium (painting, sculpture, etc.), the geographical location and nationality (from broad, such as continent, to narrow, such as city), and time period (both century and descriptive name).


Search tips

  • Remember to enclose search phrases in quotes:

"pop art"

This ensures that the database will return results that include the entire phrase

"pop art"

rather than records that contain both of these words, but not your search phrase:

records that include the word "pop" and the word "art" but not the phrase "pop art"

Doing this will help you avoid sifting through irrelevant results.

  • Begin with a keyword search of your topic:

michelangelo sistine

and note the related subject headings that come up in relevant results:

Michelangelo Buonarroti, 1475-1564; Cappella Sistina (Vatican Palace, Vatican City)

  • To search for more than one variant of a term, use truncation:

ital* will search for

Italian and Italy

The database searches for any word that begins with the letters that precede the truncation symbol (in this case, an asterisk). Some databases use other symbols, such as a question mark, for truncation.

  • You can also revise searches, including a related term in an "or" (typed in all caps) search with the first term:

ex. renaissance OR "16th century"

See the box on Boolean Logic for more about this search technique.

  • If the database you are searching allows you to specify a search field (i.e. keyword, subject, author, title etc.), then you can search these fields as long as you know that the term you're using appears in that index.

For example, you might begin with a keyword search for giotto and "arena chapel" but find that the database lists "Cappella degli Scrovegni nell’Arena (Padua, Italy)" as a subject heading. By searching for "Cappella degli Scrovegni nell’Arena (Padua, Italy)" as a subject in this particular database, you ensure that every one of your results treats the Arena Chapel as a subject.

If you search for the keywords giotto and "arena chapel" in this database, you might find records among your results where the Arena Chapel is mentioned but is not the main topic of the article or book. Sometimes you may want to look at these records too, so consider keyword searching in addition to searching the subject or other index fields.

HathiTrust Digital Library

Due to a temporary arrangement (described below), many print items in the Brandeis Library can currently be accessed online via the HathiTrust. For these items, you will see a link that reads "Full Text Available at HathiTrust" in the Brandeis OneSearch catalog listing; follow the instructions below to gain access to the digitized content.

Beginning April, 2020, HathiTrust offers temporary access to in-copyright digitized items that are owned by Brandeis through its Emergency Temporary Access Service. You will see a link to the digitized HathiTrust material when you search the OneSearch catalog. Follow the instructions below to gain access to Brandeis-owned HathiTrust materials. Note that temporary access to HathiTrust items is limited to one person per item.

  1. Click where it reads "Full Text Available at HathiTrust" in the Brandeis OneSearch catalog record. You will need to sign in with your Brandeis username and password.
  2. Click on the link under the HathiTrust record that reads "Temporary Access."
  3. To view the PDF, click on the "Check Out" button, to the right of the statement "Access to this document is provided through the Emergency Temporary Access Service.

Please note that if you are out of the country, you may not be able to access HathiTrust materials using the steps above. If you experience any issues, please contact me and I will arrange to have the item downloaded for you.