Because SuperSearch contains so much content from so many different kinds of sources and disciplines, it can sometimes be hard to focus a search to get the most relevant results. At the same time, SuperSearch is also not comprehensive and can miss key sources. To search with more focus, precision, and depth, also try the specialized databases recommended on this guide, or the library catalog for books and films.
SuperSearch can also be helpful for finding sources that provide historical evidence about your text, film, artwork, or other cultural artifact and its creation, reception, etc. Use the publication date limiter to find mentions of the artifact during a particular time period — e.g., around the time of its creation or publication. Limit by content type, such as newspaper or magazine articles, to look at evidence in the popular press.
These databases are a good place to find articles and chapters from scholarly journals and books, and some also contain content from newspapers, magazines, and other sources. It's always a good idea to search in more than one database. Even when there's considerable overlap in content, the different features of each database can help you find different sources. Check out our full Database A-Z list and sort by Subject to find other databases for your topic.
Film & Television
MLA Search Tip: MLA is an index, so you're searching a small amount of information about each source, rather than the source itself. Trying a variety of keywords is often essential to getting the best results in MLA. Make note of relevant keywords and subject terms that come up in your initial searches, and use those terms to find more.
See the A-Z Databases page and filter by subject for additional options.
Try a keyword search. Once you find a book that is relevant to your topic, use the subject terms for that book to help you find "more like this" and explore different aspects of a broader topic.
Example keyword search: aids AND artist*
Subject terms for books from this keyword search lead you to many more books on aspects of the topic, for example:
If you find a book through SuperSearch that is only available in print, see if you can find it in the Internet Archive. You can borrow digitized copies of books for up to 14 days with a free account. Access is limited to one user at a time per book, so be sure to return the book as soon as you're done to make it available for others. Change "Metadata" to "Text Contents" to search for keywords in the full content of all of the Internet Archive's digitized books.