Finding Books at Gettysburg

Search Tools


Musselman Library + catalog = MUSCAT. It's the name for the catalog here at Gettysburg. It will allow you to search for books, ebooks, DVDs, scholarly journals, newspapers, magazines, and maps, but you won't be able to find individual articles from newspapers or magazines in it. For those, you'll need to search in a relevant journal database (use the library research guides to help identify useful databases for your topic). 


OneSearch is our newest tool at Gettysburg. Remember how MUSCAT doesn't include the articles from scholarly journals or newspapers? Well, OneSearch does include (many) of them. You may think of it as a one-stop search that includes not only MUSCAT, but also many of the databases. If you want to make sure your favorite database is included, we have provided a complete list of what's included in OneSearch.

You can search it in the same way that you would MUSCAT—exact authors, known titles, keywords, and subjects. Just remember that you're searching many databases at once. This is useful, though, if you want to cast a wide net for your search to see what we have across the library's resources.

Search Strategies


If you don't already know what you want, keywords are the way to go. This is where you can use the keyword developed during your earlier brainstorming. When you search by keywords, you're searching by natural language, the language that we commonly use in speech and writing.

Search engines on the Internet are based around keyword searching to locate the information you need. The tips here can be used in not only MUSCAT and Discovery, but throughout many databases. (That includes Google or Google Scholar!)

Keyword Search

When you start your search, it'll be set for a keyword search by default. You can also select author, title, subject, call number, or ISSN/ISBN if you already have that information.
A keyword search in MUSCAT will include all of the information available in the catalog record: author, title, subjects, table of contents, and publisher information. It does not search the fulltext of the items.

Connecting Words / Boolean Operators

You can use connecting words (also called Boolean operators) to build your keyword search:

AND requires that both word(s) appear in the record
Example: homelessness AND women
water pollution AND Pennsylvania
OR requires that either word(s) appear in the record
Example: global warming OR climate change
Cell phone OR mobile phone
NOT requires that a term be absent from a record
Example: Mexico NOT new



root* - Truncation allows you to search for variations of a word by using a symbol (often an asterisk, but it depends on the database) following the root of a word. Rather than using OR to search for all possible variations from a root word, save time by using truncation. You may also catch some words you hadn't considered.
Example: learn* = learn, learned, learners, learning
homeless* = homeless, homelessness

Subject Headings

The next step after doing a general keyword search is to focus your search by using the subject terms that appear at the bottom of records.

Why use a subject? If you did a search for "Civil War" you will find resources on not only the American Civil War, but also the Spanish Civil War and many others throughout history. Subject headings (you may also see them called descriptors in some databases) will be very specific and often place a concept, event, or person in a particular context. This way you can collect all the sources on your topic, whether or not the authors use the same words you do.

For example, the subject for the American Civil War is: United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865.

Civil War Subject Search

It's somewhat similar to tagging friends in Facebook photos. For example, when you click on a tag for your friend Sarah (we all know a Sarah, right?), it brings you all pictures of the same Sarah - not just any random Sarah.


Finding Books at Other Libraries


There will come a time when you'll want a book or journal article to which we don't have access. Thankfully, we've made it as easy as possible for you to get what you need as quickly as possible.


One way to think of WorldCat is as a catalog of catalogs. It searches the collections of thousands of libraries in the United States and around the world. WorldCat

Like MUSCAT, you can search it using keywords, title, authors, and subject headings. There are some great ways of narrowing your searches, too, so you'll want to take a look at those. For example, you can limit by material type: books, archival materials, or maps. 

*The archival materials limit is useful if you're trying to find primary sources that are archived at libraries. The collections at The National Archives and The Library of Congress in Washington, DC aren't too far away!

Interlibrary Loan (ILLiad)

Once you have gone into ILLiad and created your account (click "first time users" in ILLiad), you'll be able to request books and journal articles from other libraries. Remember that your password in Illiad remains the same even if your Gettysburg password changes.

There are a couple of ways you can place an interlibrary loan request through ILLiad:

1. Login to ILLiad and provide all of the citation information in the request form.

2. Clicking the "Gett it!" button in a database, will let you know if we have access to what you need. If it says we don't, by clicking the "request through interlibrary loan" link, you'll be taken to ILLiad, where the request form will automatically fillout for you.

3. When you're in WorldCat, you'll see the ILLiad logo by any title that we don't own. Click it, login, and the request form will fill out automatically for you.


Getting the Article


Selecting the Right Database

If you're looking for articles, you'll want to use one of our databases. They include millions of citations from journals, newspapers, and books. The trick is in choosing the right one, building a great search, and getting the article.

We have a lot of databases, so check out the ones that we suggest for each discipline. From the articles tab on the main page, you can select your discipline and see a list of the top resources we suggest.

Article Search

If you already know what you want, you can select the database from our A-Z list.

Retrieving the Article

Once you've completed your search and found an article you'd like to read, there are a couple of ways to get the fulltext.

1. The database will include the fulltext as either a PDF file or as an HTML page.

Full TextGett It!

2. If you don't see the HTML or PDF full text, click the GETT IT button to see if we have the article available elsewhere in the library. This may mean electronic fulltext in another database, print, or microfilm.

available in fulltext or print formats

3. Sometimes we don't have library access to the fulltext, and you need to request it from another library. In those cases, click the "request through interlibrary loan" link, login to ILLiad, and place the request.

Request Through ILL

Make sure you allow yourself enough time for the article to get here. How quickly we get it for you will depend on the lending library.

Journal Locator

Already have a citation for an article? You can search the Journal Locator to see if Musselman has it.
The library has access to many journals, newspapers, and magazines in both print and online formats. Resources may be in electronic format, print, or even microfilm.

Journal Locator

You'll want to remember that while the Journal Locator can tell you what journals, newspapers, or magazines we have, it cannot search all the articles in all the journals. Be sure to type a journal title in the search box (not an article title).

Google Scholar

Google is quick, easy, and will provide you with a lot of articles within seconds. While Google Scholar can be one tool in locating articles, it will often direct you to publishers' websites where they'll ask you to pay for the article. There are a couple of things to keep in mind:

1. Musselman pays for access to journals for you. Never pay for an article. That's just a waste of your tuition dollars. Click the "Gett It @ Gettysburg" link on the right of the article citation to see if we have the article. If we don't, you can easily get it through ILL.
2. Musselman has access to many databases that include fulltext. It also purchases databases that can assist you with research in a particular discipline. (PsycInfo lets you limit to empirical studies.)
3. If you want to be thorough in your work, don't rely on a single tool. We may have a database that contains articles not included in Google Scholar, especially in the humanities.
*If you are searching Google Scholar from off-campus, you will need to login to one of the library's databases before you use Google Scholar in order for it to link to Musselman's collections.

Evaluating your sources

You should think critically about the information sources you're using in your work, especially if you're citing them in a research paper or presentation. It's one thing to use the Internet when looking to buy a cell phone, but it's another thing when you're finding sources for an academic paper.

A few of the things to consider when evaluating sources:

  • Who is the author? What do you know about them?
  • What audience is the information intended for?
  • Is the information appropriate for the topic that you're researching?
  • Is the information up-to-date? (This won't always matter!)
  • Are sources cited either in the text or in a bibliography at the end? (Sometimes this is important. Sometimes it isn't. It depends on the type of source and your information need.)

Scholarly vs. Popular Sources

Video Source: North Carolina State University Libraries, "Peer Review in 5 Minutes."

For much of the research that you do at Gettysburg College, professors will request that you use scholarly articles (from peer-reviewed journals, rather than popular magazines and websites.) If you need help telling the difference, see our guide on the library website (PDF).

Website Evaluation

We know that the Internet is more than old music videos on YouTube. There is also a lot of academic information available. While the great thing about the Internet is that anyone with a little time, some knowledge, and a small amount of money can make a webpage, we have to keep in mind:

  • No person, persons, or organization reviews the content on the Internet.
  • Search engines retrieve pages based on the page content, not the relevancy or quality of the page.
  • Have you seen a webpage from 1996? It's not pretty. A lot of pages are not updated regularly.

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