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Course & Subject Guides

ENGLIT 0625: Detective Fiction - Oakland Campus

A guide to assist student in Professor Tom Bair's Summer 2018 Detective Fiction course.


PittCat PittCat is the main searching tool for all of the materials owned by the University Library System (ULS), including articles, books, ebooks, journal articles, ejournals, audio and video, digital images, government documents, microfilm and movies.

Selecting Keywords

The search terms or keywords you use to search are what determine the results you get.  Here's a good exercise to help you generate keywords:

1. Express your topic in a topic sentence: “What is the effect of television violence on children?”

2. Generate keyword search terms by identifying the main ideas or concepts within that topic sentence:  “What is the effect of television violence on children?” = Effect, Television, Violence, or Television violence and Children

3. Expand your search terms by brainstorming related terms or synonyms that describe your main ideas:

  • Television; media, TV,
  • Violence; aggression,
  • Effect; influence,
  • Children; toddlers, youngsters, boys, girls

Searching Techniques

Phrase Searching - PittCat allows for phrase searching with the use of “  “. For example, the search "climate change" will find items with the phrase climate change in them.

Wildcard and Truncation – You can use wildcards (* and ?) symbols to search PittCat.

Advanced Searching - Check the Advanced Search for more tips and techniques to enhance your search, including Boolean Operators (AND, OR, NOT). Note: Boolean Operators must be entered in all uppercase/capital letters.

Advanced Search

Select advanced search in PittCat to quickly locate and browse library materials, including books, ebooks, journals and magazines. Advanced search options include:

  • Title 
  • Author/Creator: search by last name, first name
  • Subject: describes the main subjects or topics covered in a book. Searching by subject is also a great way to quickly search for specific subject areas.

The general subject heading for detective fiction is:

  • Detective and mystery stories

Because the ULS has such a large collection, subject headings are often broken down into subheadings.  For example:

  • Detective and mystery stories--History and criticism.
  • Detective and mystery stories, English--History and criticism.
  • Detective and mystery stories--Criticism and interpretation.

To find materials on a particular author, search the author’s name by last name first name.  For critical material on that author’s work, look for the subheading CRITICISM and INTERPRETATION.  For example:

  • Poe, Edgar Allen
  • Christie, Agatha
  • Doyle, Arthur Conan AND criticism