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World in the 20th Century Research LibGuide

Use Western Library databases for World History Class Resesrch

How to Use Western Library Databases

Basic Searching - Library Databases


list iconAs you gather background information and data keep a running list of relevant words, phrases, key concepts, and subjects you encounter to use in future searches related your specific assignment goals.   Make a list of terms and their variations. Different authors use different terms and having this list will help you cover all your research bases.


note iconNOTE: When searching, put quotes OR parentheses around phrases of more than one word -- "Great Depression" or (Great Depression) - to search for the phrase, Great Depression, instead of the individual words separately.



  • War, (World War I), (Vietnam War)
  • "World War II," Nazis, Adolf Hitler, holocaust, (concentration camps); Auschwitz
  • authoritarian, authoritarianism, totalitarian, totalitarianism; dictator, dictatorship, fascism, fascist
  • propaganda, misinformation, disinformation, manipulation
  • decolonization, (British Empire)
  • "United Nations," (League of Nations), NATO, treaties
  • nuclear, (nuclear power); "nuclear war"

Advanced Search Strategies - Library Databases

advanced search icon

Advanced search strategies can save you time and narrow your search from tens of thousands of articles to dozens.

Remember when searching, put quotes or parentheses around phrases of more than one word to search for the phrase instead of the individual words separately.


  • Boolean Operators (AND, OR, and NOT) to help you narrow or expand your results
    • Searching for restaurant AND delivery will give you results with both words present. Therefore, your results are fewer.
    • Using OR between similar keywords restaurant OR cafe will give you results that include either word alone or both words together. Therefore, your results are greater. A search for will retrieve either or both terms.

      The NOT operator gives you results from only one of your words -  delivery NOT mail - . Therefore, your results are fewer. Searching  eliminate articles containing the word mail from the results.

    • Most databases have an Advanced Search option that provdes you with three or more boxes to insert keywords, phrases, names etc. and options to choose AND, OR, and NOT from a drop-down menu.

  • Wildcard Searching - Truncation will save you time by searching or variations of a root word

    • Adding an asterisk to a root word, dictat* means you will locate articles or information for ALL variations of the root, dictat*

      • dictate, dictates, dictator, dictators, dictatorship, dictatorial

Database Filters and Tools: Tips and Tricks

Business database searchLibrary databases save you time and energy! They contain vetted, fact-checked, and credible information created by trustworthy professionals and experts. Since anyone can publish anything on a website you'd find Google, and it can be difficult to find credible information suitable for a research project



Database Filters and Tools 

All databases have the following features. (Look for them in left or right columns or at the top of the page.)

  • Tools - search boxes (basic, advanced), cite tools, a way to email, send, or share, a list of source types related to a search (number of academic journals, magazines, newspapers, videos, etc), a print tool, permalink.
  • Filters. Often a search results in hundred or thousands of articles. Use the Filters to narrow your results
    • Full Text - check third filter to show only titles that also have complete articles, rather than just a summary.
    • Date or date range filters - these may refer to publication or copyright dates. 
    • Source Type: use this filter to choose the what type of article you want to see -  newspaper, magazine, academic journal, etc. Filter out the source types you don't want to see. For example,for a research project you may need a scholarly article from an academic journal. By checking the Academic Journall box or link,,, you will be shown only scholarly articles.
    • Filters will be located on ether the left, right, or top of the page, depending on the database.

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