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America Transformed: Books and ebooks

Using books for research

Finding information in books is a vital part of the research process. Books might seem daunting. They can be long and written in an academic voice that isn't very conducive to an easy afternoon read. Here are a few ways to tackle books to make them worth your while.

  1. Use the index. I think the index is more important than the table of contents! it is located in the back of the book, and you can look for keywords that you collected during your background research.
  2. Use the table of contents to find chapters that will be most relevant to your research.
  3. Skim areas to find your keyword, then read the paragraph or surrounding pages to get more context.
  4. You can even use Google Books or Amazon's Search Inside feature to search the full text of a print book that doesn't have a good index or table of contents.
  5. The Dewey Decimal call numbers (at Urban and SFPL) for American history books covering 1865-1929 is 973.8-973.915. You may also want to browse books on American economics and labor, which would fall under 330-331.

Library books

Library ebooks

Free ebooks

More books!

Can't find a book you need? Sarah may be able to order it for you, so email her first.

If you do not have an SFPL library card (even if you do not live in SF!) now is the time to get one. Applications for library cards are available in Sarah's office.