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STHS 301 : Technology & Culture

Keywords and Subject Headings

You can search the library catalog for keywords and subject headings. What's the difference?

A keyword is a word used anywhere in the catalog record- title, author, summary, wherever. Subject headings are words that are specifically applied to express what the book is mostly about. Using both will help you find the most relevant results.

Consider starting with a keyword search to get the broadest range of results. Then, when you find a book that is especially good, look for its subject headings. In the catalog, subject headings are a link you can click to find other books about that same subject. You can also make a note of those headings to use them as search terms in other databases:

Call Numbers to Browse

Because it's such an interdisciplinary field, books on science, technology, and society are scattered throughout the library's collection. Whenever you find a book of interest, be sure to browse around in the area you found it for more possible sources.

You will find many books on science, technology, and society on the fourth floor with call numbers that begin with the letter 'Q'.  Another strategy is to brows the first section of the call numbers that stand for the scientific discipline you're interested in (QC for physics, QD for chemistry, etc).

Locations of books

  • New books are located in the Library lobby and are in call number order.
  • Print Reference books are on the first floor across from the Learning Commons area.
  • Book stacks: Consult the library map; look for location posters; or ask any staff member for help!

Finding Useful Book Reviews

Avoid general newspaper reviews and personal book reviews, like those on blogs or on These can't help you analyze your book like  a scholar. Two tips for finding book review:

  • 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'll 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.

Finding Book Reviews Online

To find more scholarly book reviews from the last twenty years or so, first try searching your book title in Primo, which often returns book reviews along with information about the book itself.

Then try one of the databases below. You may find some book reviews by searching the book's title in Summit, as well, but be aware that this isn't comprehensive!

  • Academic Search Premier  
    Finds reviews for books published from about 1975-present Limit to book reviews: Before you run your search, scroll down to 'Document Type' and limit to 'Book Review.' Use the author's last name and a keyword from the book title in your search.
  • JSTOR  
    Search for books published from the 1800s up to about five years ago. To limit to reviews: click Advanced Search, then check 'review.'
  • Research Library
    Search for books published from 1986 up to the present. To limit your search to book reviews, use Advanced Search, click and expand the gray tab labeled 'More Search Options', and select Review > Book Review under 'Document Type'.
  • America: History and Life 
  • Select the "Advanced Search" option. Type (in quotation marks) the title of the book for which you seek reviews. Under the limiter options, select "book review" in the "Document Type" category.

Finding Book Reviews in Print

For older books, you will need to use print indexes to book reviews. At Collins, try the following print resources, all found in the library's Reference section.

Book Review Index Call #: Z1035.A1 B6 1965-2012 (Reference)
Book review digest Call #: Z1219 .C96 1906-2012 (Reference)