Skip to Main Content

PHIL 353 | Philosophy of Film and Performing Arts

Choosing the Best Finding Aids

Selecting the best or most appropriate 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's Journal Search. Use the vocabulary in the subject encyclopedia entries as search terms in databases.
  2. Do an author search in Primo or a subject database. Which scholars are working on your topic? Many researchers will write about the same topic throughout their career. Searching by an author's name may help you gather additional information.
  3. 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!
  4. 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 or article from Summit or Inter-Library Loan, which can take about two to five days or more to arrive.

Search Primo

Search Collins+Summit+Articles

Searching for Books

Use Primo to find resources on your topic at Collins Library and beyond. You will have plenty of time to request materials via Summit or ILL for your project, so start early!

  • When you find an item that seems relevant, look at its subject terms to find similar items. To do this, check the "Item Details" and simply click on one of the subject headings listed in the record for the book; the next screen will list all the books that share this subject term.
  • To find the library location of a book's call number, check the library map.

Many of the titles featured on this page are available in print at Collins Library. If you are conducting your studies remotely or only need to consult a single chapter or section of the book, we are offering a digitization service for book chapters (you must log in to Primo to see this option in the book's record). 

Book Reviews

By consulting book reviews of the scholarly works you are reading, you can gain a better understanding of the place of a particular work within the field.  Here are a few tips for locating book reviews:

  • Check to see when your book was published. If it was published more than twenty years ago, and you aren't finding reviews online, you may need to look beyond online sources and check print indexes.
  • If you're having trouble finding a review, check with a librarian for help and to cover all your bases, but remember that some books are never reviewed. If that's the case, think about what that might mean about the book's scholarly importance.
  • In many databases, you can specifically limit your search results to just reviews.

For philosophy books, start with the resources below and branch out as needed.

Philosophy Databases

These subject databases may be especially useful for your research project in this class.