Skip to Main Content

ARC 389: Finding Images, Video, Audio: General search strategies

Quick Searches in Main Catalog

Main Catalog: Using TRUNCATION of your search term can help yield more complete search results. For example, if searching for "urbanism" but you also want to find "urbanist" or "urbanity," try typing "urban?", which will return everything with the root word of "urban."

Search Strategies - Keyword: With keyword searching, be sure to employ LIMITS if you retrieve an unwieldy number of records. Limits include "AND" and "NOT."

urban AND history AND renewal
"urban renewal" AND new york AND history
"urban renewal" AND "united states" AND history
jacobs AND moses
jacobs AND mumford
urban NOT "New York"

Search Strategies - Subject Headings: Subject headings are elements of a "controlled vocabulary," as opposed to natural language. The upside is that subject headings are carefully, specifically applied to each library resource, but the downside is that you need to know what subject headings to choose from in order to search successfully. A few pertinent examples follow.

Urban renewal --New York (State) --New York
City planning --New York (State) --New York.
Urbanization --New York (State) --New York
City planners --New York (State) --New York --History --20th century

Sample Titles:

The battle for Gotham : New York in the shadow of Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs
Wrestling with Moses : how Jane Jacobs took on New York’s master builder and transformed the American city
The urban vision; selected interpretations of the modern American city
Robert Moses and the modern city : the transformation of New York

Sample Authors to Search:

Kevin Lynch:
City sense and city design : writings and projects of Kevin Lynch
Image of the City

Nathan Glazer:
The Public face of architecture : civic culture and public spaces
From a cause to a style : modernist architecture’s encounter with the American city

Multi-Disciplinary Indexes

EBSCO Academic Search - Cross search this resource with Urban Studies Abstracts and Historical Abstracts

Wilson Omni File: Cross-searchable with Humanities Full Text, Art Full Text, Reader's Guide Full Text, etc. 

Article First: Cross-searchable with up to two others from the suite of databases; try Francis, Avery, and Bibliography of the History of Art. 

Proquest Research Library: Cross-searchable with just about every other Proquest database except for Historical Newspapers. 

JSTOR: A full-text archival resource provding full-text to hundreds of humanities-related journals.  Most of the content is at least 5 years old. 

Books Beyond Princeton

Worldcat: The Uber Catalog! The Catalog of Catalogs! A critical discovery tool! Try some of your Main Catalog searches in Worldcat.

RIBA is another great resource for British / English architecture.  This catalog includes not only books in the library's collection, but also indexes journals. 

Google Books: Searches the full text of books that Google scans and stores in its digital database, which Google claims holds ~7 million works.

Quick Searchs in Indexes

Step 1: Familarize yourself with the core architecture indexes & databases AND with the core urban studies indexes & databases.

Step 2: Set up an account with either RefWorks or Endnote. A lot of the databases allow you to directly export citations from the resource into your bibliography or folder.

Step 3: As in the Main Catalog, you are able to truncate, combine terms, and limit your searches but every index or database is a little different.  Be sure to familiarize yourself with the various wildcards & truncation symbols for a given database. This information can be found in the Help topics of a database, often denoted by a question mark, ?, at the top of the main page of the database.

Step 4: Be sure to include these key databases in your research strategy. Regardless of whether they are ultimately a boon to your research, they are are the best place to start and you will be well served by checking these off your to-do list.


Profile Photo
Gabriella Karl-Johnson
S204C Architecture Library, School of Architecture