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UMass Amherst Libraries

Anthropology

Guide for Library Research in Anthropology

Finding books

Where can I find books and e-books?

By default, results will include many different resource formats. To limit your results, find the 'Format' header on the results page and click 'Show More'. This will allow you to select 'Books' and 'eBooks'.

How do I access print books?

Screenshot of a Discovery Search result

If the location is UM Bois Library, you can use the call number to find the book on the shelves. For more information on how to use call numbers to find books or browse, select the 'Call Numbers' tab at the top of this box.

You can also click 'Request Item' to have the book placed on the hold shelf on the lower level of the Du Bois Library.

If the location is one of the other Five College libraries (AC = Amherst College, MH = Mount Holyoke, etc.), click 'Request Item' to have the book sent to the Du Bois Library for you to pick up.

How do I access e-books?

To access an e-book, click on the full text option that appears with the result.

*Note: E-books from the other Five College libraries (AC, MH, HC, SC) are not available to UMass students remotely. You can go to that college's campus and access most e-books using a library computer

What if I can't find a print book in the Five College Catalog?

How do I access a book that isn't in the Five College libraries?

How do I use a call number to find a book?

How do I browse anthropology books?

Every book is given a call number from the Library of Congress Classification System to indicate what the book is about. This means that books on similar topics are grouped close together on the library shelves.

When a book has a call number that starts with GN, it means that it is primarily about some aspect of anthropology. You can use the chart below to identify call number ranges for various topics in anthropology.

Just remember: classification is tricky and there are often multiple ways to look at the topic of a book. It might seem obvious that books about linguistic anthropology would have call numbers that start with GN, however; these books usually have call numbers that start with P, which encompasses linguistics.

One useful strategy is to find a book on your topic and look at the books near that one on the shelves.

Anthropology Call Number Ranges

GN 49-298......................Physical anthropology. Somatology 
GN 51-59................................Anthropometry 
GN 62.8-265...........................Human variation 
GN 269-279............................Race (General) 
GN 280.7................................Man as an animal. Simian traits versus human traits 
GN 281-289............................Human evolution 
GN 282-286.7...............................Fossil man. Human paleontology 
GN 296-296.5.........................Medical anthropology
GN 301-674...................Ethnology. Social and cultural anthropology 
GN 357-367............................Culture and cultural processes 
GN 378-396............................Collected ethnographies 
GN 397-397.7.........................Applied anthropology 
GN 406-517............................Cultural traits, customs, and institutions 
GN 406-442...................................Technology. Material culture 
GN 448-450.8................................Economic organization. Economic anthropology 
GN 451-477.7................................Intellectual life 
GN 478-491.7................................Social organization 
GN 492-495.2................................Political organization. Political anthropology 
GN 495.4-498................................Societal groups, ethnocentrism, diplomacy, warfare, etc. 
GN 502-517...................................Psychological anthropology 
GN 537-674............................Ethnic groups and races 
GN 550-674...................................By region or country 
GN 700-890...................Prehistoric archaeology

What are subject headings?

Each book is assigned subject headings, tags that describe what that book is about. These subject headings are standardized so that even when authors use different terms in their books to describe the same topic, you can easily find all books on that topic.

For example, "interment," "inhumation," and "burial" all describe approximately the same social practice. The subject heading "burial" would appear on the record of books where the author uses any of these terms in order to help you find them. Instead of having to do searches for "interment," "inhumation," and "burial," you can do one subject search for "burial".

How do I find subject headings to use in a search?

To browse subject headings, check out the Library of Congress Authorities page.

It's useful to keep in mind the context surrounding the creation subject headings, especially those that represent groups of people. Power and position impacts which terms library workers choose to be subject headings. For example, the Turkish ethnic group that refers to themselves as the Sakha are referred to with the subject heading "Yakut (Turkic people)".

How do I search using subject headings?

In Discovery Search, you can change the default search field to 'SU Subject Terms'. This will tell the search engine that you are only interested in resources which have been given the same subject headings that you're searching for.

If you link multiple subject headings together, separate them with a comma.

Screenshot of subject search in Discovery

How can I use the subjects headings from relevant books to find more?

When you find a book that's relevant to your research, take a look at the subject headings on its record.

Take this book found in Discovery Search for example:

Screenshot of catalog record for Unwrapping Ancient Egypt

Clicking on one of the subject headings will show you all other books in the Five College libraries that are also on that same topic.

You can also edit subject headings and search for them in Discovery Search. You could search for "Burial, China" instead to learn more about the practice in that part of the world.

What if I can't find many books using a subject heading?

There are many books that the Five College libraries don't have. You can use the WorldCat advanced search option to find books by subject heading. For best results, replace dashes between subject pieces with a comma.

Screenshot of the WorldCat homepage

Screenshot of WorldCat advanced search