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Anthropology Research Guide: Finding Books

An introductory guide to research in Anthropology at Sacred Heart University Library

Searching the Library Catalog

Use the Library Catalog to search our collection of over 310,000 books, videos, journal titles*, and other resources, including links to over 150,000 electronic books and almost 50,000 electronic journals.

Keyword searching is a good place to start, since it uses natural language – you can search your topic in your words.  A keyword search will return records that include the words you entered, anywhere in the record – title, chapter heading, subject, etc.  This can make a search very broad – but is also very useful in finding your topic in, say, just one chapter of a book. To narrow a too-broad keyword search, browse the subject links on records of the books that are most relevant to your topic, and click to find other relevant books.

Search the catalog by title if you are looking for a particular book, or by author for a particular person’s works.

Subject searching uses a controlled vocabulary – for example, the subject heading in our catalog for “Cultural anthropology” is “Ethnology.”  If you search “Cultural anthropology” as a keyword, you will find records that include those words – say, in the title of the book.  If you search “Ethnology” as a subject, you will get records for books on the topic, whether those books describe “Cultural anthropology” or “Ethnology”.  

A keyword search looks for words, but a subject search looks for a concept. Because of their different strengths, using both keyword and subject searching will often get the best results.

Use Advanced Keyword Search for additional search options, and to limit your search by location, type of material, language, or year.

*To search for journal articles focused on the discipline of Anthropology, use this page for further information.

Exploring the Shelves

If you want to simply browse the shelves of the Ryan Matura Library for materials, you can look for works on Anthropology by call number. Use the subclass designations at the beginning of the call number to direct you to information on the topic of your choice. Below is a list of the Library of Congress subclass call numbers for Anthropology:

  • GF   Human Ecology, Anthropogeography
  • GN   Anthropology
  • GR   Folklore

Using QuickSearch to Find Books

QuickSearch is a tool that allows you to search for resources across the majority of SHU Library's print and digital collections. Using the search box, you can search using keywords related to your topic and get results that include materials like eBooks, video, newspaper articles, and journal articles. QuickSearch is a great place to start your research, giving you a snapshot of what is available for your topic across a wide-range of resources.

To learn more about using QuickSearch, access SHU Library's Using QuickSearch Guided Tour Tutorial.

Use the search box below to try yourself.




To look specifically for books using QuickSearch, watch the video below.

Interlibrary Loan

What is Interlibrary Loan (ILL)?

Interlibrary loan (ILL) is a free service that obtains books and articles that the library does not own.  All faculty, staff and students can use this service.  All you need is a current SHU email address and password to set up an ILL account.  First time users can visit the library website to activate this account.  Remember, this is not an immediate service.  Some requests may take longer than others.  Contact Shari Baron at 203-371-7705 and/or with any questions.


Request an Interlibrary Loan

Please note: Before requesting an article, a book chapter, or book through the interlibrary loan, please search Sacred Heart University Library's catalog and Quick Search to make sure the library does NOT own the resource.  We cannot request items that we already own.  Consult the Reference Desk (203-371-7726) on the 1st floor of the Ryan Matura Library if you need further assistance determining the availability of an item. 

SHU Library Minute: InterLibrary Loan from Sacred Heart U Library on Vimeo.