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HIS 301.03 Renaissance Florence: HOME

Getting Help

If you're having trouble finding material for your paper, take advantage of the Library's Research Assistance.

My contact information is on the right side of this page.  Send me an email.

Chat online. Use the Ask Us buttons on the right side of this page and and on other pages throughout the Library web site.  The service is available M-F 9-5.

Email a question.  We’ll respond within 24 hours.

Visit the Reference Desk in the Central Reading Room (CRR).  There are librarians until 5 pm M-F and trained employees until the CRR closes at 2 AM.  See our HOURS.

Call the Reference Desk at 631-632-7110.  If you're at home, you can call until 2 AM Sun-Wed.  See our HOURS.

Interlibrary Loan

Remember - if we don't have an article or a book at Stony Brook that you need, you can order it free of charge through our Interlibrary Loan service.

We will request a copy from another library.

Request an item or set up an account.

Note: Textbooks are not available through this service.

Quick Search Secrets

* [Asterisk] searches for various endings – anarch* searches for anarchy, anarchism, anarchist, etc.

"[Quotes]" searches for the exact phrase – “new deal,” “South Asia,” etc.

([Parentheses]) groups multiple search terms together– “trade and (China or Chinese)” will look for “trade and China” and “trade and Chinese.”

Top Picks

What Do I Do When...?

Problem: Solution:
I don't know where to start       Try Academic Search Complete
I get too many results
  • Add more search terms
  • Put phrases in quotes – “global warming”
  • Use AND – subprime AND mortgage
  • Use NOTMiami AND dolphins NOT football
  • Limit by date – the last two years or 2006 – 2008
  • Limit to peer-reviewed or scholarly journals
  • Combine keyword and subject searches
  • Use the Advanced Search tab, if available, for more options
I get too few results
  • Use OR with synonyms – students OR pupils
  • Use truncation (*) to search by word root - comput* for computers, computing, computation, etc.
  • Use wildcard (?) to search for alternative spellings – wom?n for woman, women, womyn
  • Go broader, for example, hip-hop rather than turntablism
  • Browse by subject
  • Look at the references or works cited list from an article or book you already have
  • Try a different database or search engine
I have trouble coming up with search terms
  • Check a thesaurus (The Oxford Paperback Thesaurus)
  • Check the subject headings listed on relevant articles or books
  • Browse subject headings in a database or the catalog
  • Read article abstracts to glean additional search terms
  • Look for  “Find Similar Results”, “Similar Pages” or “More Like This” links
  • Discuss with friends and family
  • Ask-a-librarian
I have trouble finding the right database
  • Use the subject drop down list
  • Check a subject guide for recommended databases
  • Ask-a-librarian
  • Ask your instructor


Chris Filstrup
Central Reading Room
Stony Brook University

Stony Brook, NY 11794