Skip to main content

WRI 134: Talking Politics

Known item searching

After consulting reference sources, research proceeds with the selection of a few important books or articles. Pay close attention to the citations in their bibliography and footnotes, which will in turn lead you to other sources. These citations are referred to as "known items" since they include all of the information you need in order to find them. There are three types of citation:


Lee, Terence. Defect or defend: military responses to popular protests in authoritarian Asia. Johns Hopkins University Press, 2015.

  • Search by "Title" in the library catalog in order to find books written by a single author. Omit an initial article (a, the, la, etc.) if your title begins with one.


Hoffmann, Michael and Amaney Jamal. "Political Attitudes of Youth Cohorts," in The Arab uprisings explained: new contentious politics in the Middle East. Ed. Marc Lynch. New York : Columbia University Press, 2014, 273-295.

  • Edited books are collections of articles published under a single title. Search for these as you would for a book written by a single author by using the "Title" index in the library catalog. Do not search for the author or the title of the article (in quotes) but rather by the title of the entire collection.


Tremayne, Mark. "Anatomy of protest in the digital era: A network analysis of Twitter and Occupy Wall Street." Social Movement Studies 13, no. 1 (2014): 110-126.

  • Citations to journal articles look a lot like those to edited books, but note the "numeration" (13 = volume 13) and that there is no publication information. Often, simply searching the title in a Google Scholar or Articles+ search will bring you to the electronic version of the article, but if that doesn't work, search for the journal title by using the "Journal title" index of the library catalog. These titles will often be abbreviated so you have to expand those abbreviations before searching the Journal title index. Here is a helpful list of journal title abbreviations.

Politics Librarian