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REL 234: Chinese Religious Traditions: Scholarly Books

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Accessing Books in the Time of COVID-19

Please see Peggy's "Library Search Tips in the Time of COVID-19" for guidance on how to access materials that are in print format.

Strategies for Finding Books

1.  Start with specific titles suggested in subject encyclopedia entries.

2.  Identify the Library of Congress Subject Headings for that book to identify additional books on the topic.

3.  Make sure that the book is scholarly. 



Is it scholarly?

Here are some clues to look for in the catalog record when you are evaluating whether a book is scholarly or popular:

  • The publisher is either a university press or an academic publisher (such as Routledge, Wiley, Blackwell, etc.).
  • The description of the book includes "notes and references."

When you have the book in hand, and still aren't sure if it is scholarly, you might want to do a little more digging, perhaps with a couple of quick Google searches:

  • Who is the author?  What are the author's credentials or other sources of expertise?
  • Does the publisher have a website?  If so, what types of books does it publish and what is the process for submitting work for consideration?

Library of Congress Subject Headings

All books in the catalog are assigned Library of Congress Subject Headings, which is kind of like an official version of tagging.  You can find each book's subject headings on the catalog record.  The top three subject headings are in the upper right hand corner and the full listing is at the bottom of the record.

Here, for example, are the subject headings for David Palmer's monograph, Qigong Fever: Body, Science, and Utopia in China (Columbia University Press, 2007):

Click on any of these subject headings to find even more books on the topic.