Library Presentation Slides
Choosing a Topic and Testing it Out
Step 1: Do a preliminary search for books, encyclopedia entries, articles, and essays on your topic to get a sense for how much is out there. The following link will take you to a list of encyclopedias and academic anthologies to get you started.
Step 2: Broaden, narrow, or select a new topic based on what you find.
Step 3: Dig in deeper. Try some more advanced searching to find books, articles and primary sources on your topic. Look through bibliographies to find citations for other relevant sources.
Step 4: Take multiple approaches to searching. You may find books and articles on your topic as well as newspaper articles, interviews, videos, and other primary sources.
Searching for Books
Unlike other types of research you've probably done, most of the sources you need for this assignment will come from books, not articles.
Searching for books on the Library website
- Enter your search query in the big box on the library home page.
example searches: "chocolate history", "france food", "Belgian culture"
- After you do the search, use the "Refine my results" filters on the right to narrow your results to books under "Material Type".
- Once you find an item you would like, write down the call number to find it in the library or use the "Get It" link to have it sent to a library of your choice.
If the item is an ebook, you will have an option to view it online.
Cookbooks can be used as primary or secondary sources depending on whether or not they were written during the time period you are researching. Many cookbooks also have history and/or stories interspersed with recipes.
Searching for cookbooks in the library
You can find cookbooks in the library by searching on the library home page. We have cookbooks from a variety of different cultures. Try searching for a region/culture + "cooking" (e.g. "spain cooking".) If you would like to browse cookbooks, most are located on the second floor of Magrath Library in the TX700-800 range.
The Kirschner Cookbook Collection
The Doris Kirschner Cookbook Collection is located on the main floor of the Magrath Library. It contains over 5000 cookbooks dating from the 1800s to the present. Cookbooks in the collection cover a variety of types of cuisine, but it is largely U.S. focused. Books in this collection cannot be checked out, but you can scan pages from the books using and email them to yourself using the Magrath Library scanner/printer.
Places to find books we don't have in the UMN Libraries