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FREN 480: French in the Americas: Secondary Sources

Best Practices for Identifying Scholarly Secondary Sources

Selecting the best or most appropriate search strategy or finding aid for identifying sources depends almost entirely on the context of your research project. There is no single database or web search interface that will work for every research context; instead, you'll need to match your specific research needs to a variety of options. 

1. Start with the information provided in tertiary sources!

  • Look up specific titles of books in Primo, or journal titles (not article titles) in Primo Journal Search.
  • Use the entries in subject encyclopedias to identify the academic fields interested in the topic; then identify the appropriate subject database(s) to search.
  • Use the vocabulary in the subject encyclopedia entries as search terms in databases.

2. Mine the bibliographies and footnotes in other secondary sources. You may find one secondary source that is not quite right for your project; however, it may cite another scholarly source that would be just right!

3. When searching Primo or a database, pay attention to the subject headings in your results. You can use the vocabulary or click to do a new search for that heading. You'll be surprised at what you discover this way! 

5. Select the best sources, not just the most convenient sources. This may mean requesting a book from SUMMIT and/or an article from Tipasa, both of which take about two to five days to arrive. (In COVID times, you can expect this process to take a little longer so make sure you plan ahead!)

Search Primo

General Primo Search Tips

  • Use the pull-down scoping options to search Collins, Summit and Articles OR Collins and Summit, OR just Collins.
  • Use quotes to search for "exact titles".
  • Use the filters on the right side to quickly narrow your search.
  • Sign in with your Puget Sound username and password to gain access to online resources and request items from other libraries.

La Révolution Haïtienne, 1791-1804

L’Occupation américaine, 1915-1934

La présidence des deux Duvaliers, 1957-1986

La période actuelle, 1986-présent

Documentaries & Educational Films

Academic Video Online logo

Academic Video Online is a streaming video service, which provides access to a broad spectrum of educational and documentary content, spanning subject areas including anthropology, business, counseling, film, health, history, music, and more.

Databases for Francophone Literature & History

Like most other disciplines, French has several subject-specific databases. For this course, most of you will want to start your search with the MLA International Bibliography, Literature Criticism Online (literature and linguistics), and/or Historical Abstracts (world history). 

When searching for articles, click on the "check for full text" link to see if Collins Library has the journal or you need to order it through interlibrary loan.

E-Journal Collections

These e-journal collections provide access to many journals in the humanities, but they are more limited in coverage compared to subject databases. In most cases, it's better to search subject databases to identify articles, and then search the journal title in Primo to link to the materials in these e-journal collections.

Tipasa: Interlibrary Loan

Tipasa logo

If your article is not available at Collins Library, you've got another option for getting it. Use Tipasa, our interlibrary loan service.

Tipasa is linked to your library account so you'll need to log in to use it.

Once you are logged in, either go directly to Tipasa and manually enter the information, or, if you're using a database, look for a shortcut link to automatically fill out the form, like this:

Interlibrary Loan Link

Allow at least a week for the article to come. If your article is delivered in electronic format, you'll receive an email with a link to follow as soon as it's arrived.

Need Help?

This subject guide highlights only a small portion of the many resources available to you. If you're not finding what you need, don't hesitate to contact Katy!

Katy Curtis, Humanities Librarian
email: kcurtis@pugetsound.edu
Schedule an appointment
tel: (253) 879-3672
office: Collins Library 140

If you can't find Katy, remember there are several ways to get help with your research

For immediate assistance, connect to our 24/7 Ask a Librarian chat service.