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Medieval Europe

Strategies & tips for locating resources for your research projects.

What is a search strategy?

Developing a strong search strategy can save you time when it is time to search for resources.  Rather than doing general searching using Google, we recommend that you search using the library databases.  Searching Google is much different than searching library databases.

One facet of database searching that can be difficult to get used to is subject heading or keyword searches.  Rather than typing a question in and expecting instant results, users need to focus on identifying and using controlled language searches.

Identifying controlled language for subject headings and keywords is beneficial for the savvy researcher.  Controlled language is typically assigned by the Library of Congress and is then used universally (or at least in English) by vendors and publishers when identifying main points and ideas for their books, journals and other publications.

Once the controlled language for your topic is identified, database searching is usually much easier. 

Language used on websites by various entities can often be arbitrary and inconsistent.

Examples

People

King Richard, the Lionheart-- you should use: Richard I, King of England, 1157-1199

Popes--you should use a format like this: Innocent VII, Pope, 1336-1406

Charlemagne--you should use: Charlemagne, Emperor, 742-814

Joan D'Arc--you should use the English/American version: Joan, of Arc, Saint, 1412-1431

Time Period

Search by century: 7th century, 12th century, etc.

Or use "middle ages" to broaden to longer time period

Locations

Rome (Italy)--History

Campanile di Giotto (Florence, Italy)

Events

Plague--focus on geography and time period: Plague--Europe--History--To 1500

Black Death--Europe--History

Hastings, Battle of, England, 1066

Can be general or specific:  Crusades--13th-15th centuries OR Crusades--Fifth, 1218-1221

Other

Magna Carta

Papal encyclicals

Social history--Medieval, 500-1500

Peasant uprisings