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ENGL 231: Introduction to Indigenous Literatures

Finding Books

The UBC Library catalogue is a good place to start looking for books on your topic. To enhance and improve your search results, use truncation in your keyword searches and try searching the subject headings assigned to books on your topic. Before you begin your searching, consider your topic and write down the key concepts. What are the keywords that describe your subject? Think of related words, synonyms, and different spellings.



For example, if you are searching for books about Canadian Indigenous women authors

Key concepts are:

  • indigenous, native, first nations, aboriginal, indian, metis, inuit, etc.
  • woman, women, female(s), feminists, etc.
  • canada, canadian, North American, individual names of provinces, cities, etc.
  • writers, authors, poets, playwrights, etc.

Compare the following keyword searches:

canadian indigenous women authors - gives you 21 results
canad? first nations authors women - gives you 36 results
canad? native authors women - gives you 70 results
The ? is a truncation mark: canad? will include canada, canada's, canadian, etc.

Browse the results list and look at the full records to see the subject headings assigned for relevant titles. Note that the results are sorted by relevance. You can change the results to sort by date, author, title, or relevance. Note that the subject headings used for some of the titles including Canadian literature--Indian authors and Indian women--Canada--Literary collections. Try browsing these subject headings to find more books on your topic.



Summon is the UBC Library's meta-discovery tool that provides a single starting point to find and to access the majority of the UBC Library collections - including books, ebooks, book reviews, scholarly journals and articles, newspaper articles, dissertations and theses, videos, maps, manuscripts, music scores, digitized items, and more.

Summon is very fast and excels at finding our ebooks and a multitude of other resources using keyword searching. It's a good starting point for research. Summon only indexes about 80% of our articles and doesn't cover some full text resources such as the Oxford reference guides so you should also use the Library catalogue and specialized databases for your research. It's useful when you are searching for a specific journal article.

When searching Summon, it's important to use quotation marks around phrases. Compare these two searches: three day road versus "three day road" Narrow your results to books/ebooks, then scholarly articles.

Summon is useful for finding a specific journal article. For example, if you were trying to find Darrell Peters' 1999 article Beyond the Frame: Tom King's Narratives of Resistment published in Studies in American Indian Literatures, Volume 11, Issue 2, pp. 66-79, you can search the article title in Summon: "Beyond the Frame: Tom King's Narratives of Resistment"

Browsing Subjects and Call Numbers

Browse the results list of your keyword search and look at the full records to see the subject headings assigned for relevant titles. Note that the results are sorted by relevance. You can change the results to sort by date, author, or title. Click on the subject headings to find more books on your topic.  

Examples of other subject headings to search for books in this course include:

  • Canadian literature--Indian authors.
  • Canadian literature--Indian authors--History and criticism.
  • Canadian literature--Metis authors--History and criticism.
  • Indian literature--Canada--History and criticism.
  • Native peoples in literature.
  • First Nations--Authors.
  • Inuit--Poetry.
  • Métis--Drama.
  • Canadian drama--Indian authors.
  • Canadian poetry--Indian authors.
  • First Nations--Authors--Women.
  • Indians of North America--Canada--Fiction.
  • Indians of North America--Canada--Poetry.
  • Canadian literature--Minority authors.
  • Indigenous peoples--Canada.
  • Indigenous women--Canada--Literary collections.

To find books of criticism and interpretation for specific authors and works, search for books by the author and titles of specific novels, plays, poems, etc as a subject or try keyword searching.

For example, to find books about Tomson Highway,try browsing his name as subject heading not author: highway, tomson

You can also browse the catalogue by the Library of Congress subject headings and call numbers to find more titles.

Try browsingPS8235.I6