Searching Diversity Related Terms
Since the definition of culture varies, the following information is based on its broadest definition to reflect the diversity of the people residing in the United States. The Library of Congress, which sets subject heading standards or "authorities" for many of our library databases and our catalog, as well as the U.S. Census Bureau, which sets standards for the statistical classification of race and ethnicity and also for ancestry, strongly influence the terminology used to describe groups in databases and publications. Furthermore, this terminology changes over time to reflect current usage.
Disclaimer: The following search tips and terms are suggestions in the context of efficient searching and are are not meant to be definitive or authoritative, and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs or attitudes of the author of this web site. Keep in mind the denotative and connotative uses of these terms may directly influence your search results.
Library Database Search Strategies
The use of the asterisk (*) is a "wildcard" that most databases use to search a root word and variable endings in order to be more efficient, such as automatically including singular and plural, other forms of a word. Use quotation marks around phrases so they are searched as phrases.
- For example: "chican*" will retrieve "chicana," "chicanas," "chicano," "chicanos," etc.
The use of the word "or" in between synonyms or related words broadens search results by including either term in the search results. For example:
- chican* or latin* or hispanic* or "mexican american*"
When searching historical resources consider how usage changes over time. For example:
- negro* or "afro american*" or black* or "african american*"
The use of the word "and" between keywords narrows search results by requiring that both terms must appear in the search results. For example:
- deaf* and los angeles
Use parentheses or enter groups of terms in separate search boxes within the databases when you combine "or" and "and" searches. For example:
- (muslim* or islam*) and (women or female*)
Stereotyping and Media Keywords
The following search terms can be entered along with subject specific keywords to get articles on this concept:
(image* or portray* or stereotyp* or represent* or depict* or bias*)
- Example: (gay* or lesbian* or homosexual* or queer or lgbt) and (image* or portray* or stereotyp* or represent* or depict*)
(media or news* or press or journalis* or reporter* or reporting)
- Example: "asian american*" and women and (media or news* or press or journalis* or reporter* or reporting)