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FYS: Take the Crooked Road, Appalachian Music (2019)

a guide for students in professor Bill Krause's first-year seminar on Appalachian Music and Culture, created by librarian Maryke Barber

Generating Key Words

Create a list of key words from different categories, and try different key words in your searches:

Who, what, where, when....topics, names and places are all good key words, so are titles, events or historical periods, genres/styles/other categories, expert terms.
Add to your list by reading more about your topic, and by looking for:

  • Subject terms in OneSearch and other databases.
  • related terms (coal mining - mountaintop removal)
  • synonyms (woman - female)

No results? Search more broadly: 

Try your search using fewer terms, or change to broader terms: for example, use the term songs (broad), instead of just muder ballads (narrow).

Too many results? Narrow down by adding something:

Try adding words from the categories mentioned above: who, what, where, etc.


Try combining  search words, using "and" in between: music and culture

Use the *  (asterisk) wildcard, to search several terms at once.

music* for music, musical, musician, musicians etc.

Use quotation marks to enclose a phrase:

“string band”

How To Search

AND, OR, & NOT (also known as "Boolean operators") help you combine search words, to find what you are looking for. Watch this video to find out how it works:

Adapted from the materials created by The University of Auckland Library, NZ. This video is covered by a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike license.