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Italian Studies

A guide to Italian Studies Resources at the University of Maryland.

Searching WorldCat for Italian Material

Finding Italian language material in the UMD catalogue can be a little tricky. By following these steps, you should be able to find material efficiently and effectively.

For Known Item Searching:

 If you know the title and/or the author you are looking for, the system can be easily worked to bring back the material you need.

For example, let's say I need the book La Tregua, by the author Primo Levi. My first step would be to navigate to the library's home page and to identify the main WorldCat search bar in the middle of the screen. From there, I want to click on the Advanced Search.

Once I am in the Advanced Search screen, which looks like this:

There are a couple of things to note when searching in our system:

1) the words you use matter: the search will read your input very literally

2) make sure you're searching in the right place: see the drop down menus? Make sure to select the correct field to find the information you are looking for

3) Use "quotation marks" to find an exact tile

4) for author searches, make sure to use this construction surname,forename

5) use the AND,OR, and NOT options to connect the items you are searching for (e.g. title AND author). This will ensure you connect the two terms and receive the overlapping results (i.e. not just one or the other).  

Here is an example:

                advanced search with highlights

Once you have done this, hit the search button.

Now you will see a listing of results weighted by their relevancy to your search terms.

Success!

 

Browsing

If you do not know the specific title you are searching for, there are a number of ways to find information

1) author search: As with the search above, searching for the author will bring back all of the works associated with them. If you search in the field titled "author" you will be given all the works BY that author. If you search in the "subject" field, you will be given all the works ABOUT that author.

2) Subject searching: if you enter a subject, such as: 

Holocaust survivors Italy Biography.

World War, 1939-1945 Personal narratives, Italian

you will be given a full list of related titles. A book like La Tregua would be in that list, but so would others, so this is a way to explore the literature that is classified in a similar way to other works. The problem with "subject" searching is that this is a highly organised language and knowing the subjects can be a little difficult for those unaccustomed to this form of information organisation. An easy way to find subject headings is within an item's record as so: 

Keyword Searching

A less structured way of searching is to search an item's keywords. Keywords are supplied by publishers, authors, and librarians in order to more fully describe any given item (this is called the item's metadata). These descriptions are typically one-to-two word phrases, like tags or "hash-tags" on social media. An item is "tagged" to help it be found (as a photo would be on social media). Keywords are therefore more open, free, and natural and can make finding easier. That said, however, tags can be inexact and do not always match the words you are searching for. Keyword searching is the DEFAULT search option in our system, which is why when you search you may find results that seem wildly inexact when you search something like "levi" or "holocaust literature" -- these searches are large and will include more than the title we are searching for above. 

Other useful catalogs

If you are having a hard time tracking down a book, try one of these catalogs.  They cover more ground than WorldCatUMD, and we can usually still access the material through Interlibrary Loan.  UMD Faculty and Graduate Students have borrowing priveleges with the Washington Research Libraries Consortium, so try Aladin if you would like to take a field trip!