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SSI1-120: Hagia Sophia: From the Emperor's Church to the Sultan's Mosque

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 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 -- 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.

Although databases may vary in scope, they have some common search features.

  • Phrase Searching: Use quotation marks around the words that are part of a phrase
    • "Bayeaux Tapestry"
  • Use AND to connect words that must appear in a document.
    • Olympia AND Manet
  • Use OR for related or synonymous terms.
    • wedding OR betrothal
  • Use parentheses to group a search and combine it with another search.
    • Arnolfini AND (wedding OR betrothal)
  • Use an asterisk * to find variant word endings. Be careful not to shorten your word too much, because this can bring back results that are not relevant.
    • paint* retrieves paint, paints, painters, painting, etc.

Many databases offer an advanced search option to refine your results by type of publication, language, date, etc.


A citation is a reference to a source used by an author. Conventions for documenting citations vary by discipline. Typically a citation includes enough information to lead the reader directly to source or identify the source used.

Mining citations can be an effective research strategy for finding more sources relevant to a topic.

  • Use an author's name to find other publications on the same topic. 
  • Review citations of a bibliography to identify earlier related works,

Citations Explained

Before you can find the full text, you need to understand the parts of a citation.

Example of a Journal Citation:

Teteriatnikov, Natalia B. "The Mosaics of the Eastern Arch of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople: Program and Liturgy." Gesta 52 (2013): 61-84.

Example of a Book Citation:

Nelson, Robert S. Hagia Sophia, 1850-1950: holy wisdom modern monument. University of Chicago Press, 2004.

Example of an Essay in a Edited Book:

Eastmond, Antony. “Between Icon and Idol: The Uncertainty of Imperial Images.” In Icon and Word: The Power of Images in Byzantium Studies Presented to Robin Cormack, edited by Antony Eastmond and Liz James, 73-86. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2003.

Search Primo for the Full text

Once you've identified a citation, your next step is to locate the full text. Whether it's a book, magazine, journal, or newspaper article, check Primo. Use the location chart to identify the floor of a physical item.


For books or essays in books, use Primo's advanced search. Change the "any field" to title and type words from the title of the book.

Book example:

Eastmond, Antony. Art and Identity in Thirteenth-Century Byzantium : Hagia Sophia and the Empire of Trebizond. Aldershot, Hants, England ; Burlington, VT, Ashgate/Variorum, 2004.


To find articles, use Primo's advanced search. Change the "any field" to title. Type the journal title and the material type to journals.

Journal example:

James, Liz. "Senses and sensibility in Byzantium." Art History 27.4 (2004): 522-537.

Art Related Databases


More databases to try

Depending on your topic, here are some additional databases to explore. Also consider searching databases in the areas of history, classics, religion, and anthropology. You'll find a list of all databases on the A-Z page.

Google Scholar Cited Reference Search

Google Scholar includes articles from JSTOR, university repositories, and open access journals as well as some dissertations, theses, and conference papers.. It is not comprehensive and  should be used in conjunction with the databases listed on this page.


Use the advanced search to customize your search. To access advanced search, click on the down arrow to the right of the search box. 

In the advanced search you can limit your search to articles appearing in JSTOR by adding JSTOR in the search box "return articles published in."

If you are not logged into your Puget Sound account when you access Google Scholar, be sure to set up your preferences  to access articles online that are available at Collins Library.

Once you are in the settings menu, click on library links, add the following if they are not listed.

Google Scholar Search