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SSI2-101: Musical History of Tacoma

What's a Secondary Source?

In secondary sources, authors analyze and interpret primary source materials. 

Secondary sources can be scholarly or popular.  They may be books or articles. Scholarly sources (sometimes called "academic" or "peer-reviewed" sources) are written by and for experts and typically include bibliographies and citations.  Popular sources are written for a general, non-expert audience and can be authored by anyone.

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 more books on the topic.
  3. If required for your assignment, make sure that the book is scholarly. 
  4. To find eBooks, use the filters on the right to limit your results to eBooks (under "Resource Type")

Search Primo

Search Collins+Summit+Articles

Using Library of Congress Subject Headings

Books in Primo are assigned Library of Congress Subject Headings. In many ways, subject headings are a form of tagging, in that they represent the content of the material and provide ways for you to efficiently locate more materials that are conceptually related. 

Here are several examples of the various ways you can use LCSH to help pinpoint what you need:

You can also search by a musician's name (last, first) as a subject, or as an author:

General Database Search Tips

Try these strategies to become a better, more efficient searcher -- and help you find articles that you can actually use:

  • Build your search vocabulary -- keep a running list of key words, phrases, concepts, synonyms, and any related terms or ideas that you find.
  • Use advanced search features -- narrow your search with "AND," expand your search with "OR," or search in specified fields (i.e., author, title, publication, abstract).
  • Use search limits -- control the types of results you get (academic journals? language?) and how they are displayed (date? relevance?) so that you're only looking at results you can use.
  • Try multiple searches and evaluate your results -- try to figure out why you got the results you did, and adjust your search until you get closer to results you can use.
  • Use database descriptors -- once you find an article that looks good, see what descriptors or "subject headings" were assigned to it in the database. You can use these to search only for articles that have the same descriptors attached.

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