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FR310: French Culture

Professor Tara Foster

Library Resource Guide: Poster Presentation

Instruction Provided by Rachel O. Jorgensen


Library Catalogs

Olson Library Catalog: The library catalog catalogs books, periodicals, government documents, and audiovisual materials that Olson library owns. To find magazine or journal articles, use the resources listed below.

WorldCat: has "over 41 million records of any type of material cataloged by OCLC member libraries. Includes manuscripts written as early as the 12th century." Most things that you find in WorldCat can be requested through Interlibrary Loan.

Peter White Public Library: Peter White Public Library is a good place to find cookbooks, travel guides and other books on France and its individual regions.

MelCat: We belong to the Michigan Library Consortium - anything you find in the MelCat catalog can be sent to you.

At the bottom of this page are tips on how to do keyword searches in catalogs and databases, as well as information on Library of Congress subject headings and examples that will be useful when doing research for this assignment.


Reference Resources

Reference resources, loosely defined, are publications (either in print form or electronic) that provide basic information, such as bibliographies, encyclopedias and dictionaries -- there are reference resources on almost any subject. The reference collection is located behind the Reference Desk at Olson Library and you can use them at any time, but they cannot be checked out.

For this assignment you might find these reference resources helpful:

Larousse Gastronomique TX349.L365 2001 This encyclopedia, arranged alphabetically, provides definitions for cooking terms, as well as the history of techniques and recipes. It also includes short biographies of chefs and other figures in the world of food, as well as providing information on ingredients. This resource also provides a concise history of French cooking.

The Cambridge World History of Food TX353.C255 2000 v.1-2 Like Larousse Gastronomique, this is an encyclopedia that provides information on ingredients, but it's emphasis is primarily on how food relates to human beings: nutrition, history of food consumption, diseases, etc. However, volume two includes "The History and Culture of Food and Drink in Europe," which has a section on France. This work also includes bibliographies.

The Oxford Companion to Food TX349.D36 2006 This concise reference provides information on ingredients, foods of different countries and regions, as well as cooking techniques.

Fodor's Guide to Europe D909.F63 Travel guide books can useful in that they list cultural and historical sites, as well as other things of interest such as local food specialties and traditions. Guide books usually give a brief history - information you can use to inform your research.

Oxford Reference Online Premium: Available online, this is the portal to a comprehensive collection of reference sources: encyclopedias, dictionaries, time lines, maps, and many more. A useful tool at any stage of research. You can search in all the Oxford Reference products through this front page.


Journal and Magazine Articles

JSTOR: Complete, searchable, full text articles from over 1,000 core scholarly journals, spanning from about 1878 to the most recent 1-5 years.*

Project Muse:Full-text articles from more than 200 scholarly journals in history and the humanities, the social sciences, and the sciences. Disciplines covered include literature and criticism, history, the visual and performing arts, cultural studies, education, political science, gender studies, economics, and many others.*


Google Resources

In general, using Google to find images and information for this type of assignment is not a good idea. For images, you usually cannot find all of the information needed in order to do a correct citation. However, Google Scholar and Google Book Search may lead you to materials that aren't available at Olson Library.

Google Scholar: This is a database that collects material from across the "broad spectrum of scholarly research."

Google Book Search: Google states that you can "search full text over 7 million books in 40 languages."


Image Resources

ArtStor: Searchable database of digital images and associated catalog data... ARTstor covers many time periods and cultures, and documents the fields of architecture, painting, sculpture, photography, decorative arts, design, anthropology, ethnographic and women's studies, as well as many other forms of visual culture. Users can search, view, download and organize images.*

New York Public Library Image Collection: Like ArtStor, the NYPL image collection provides access to a large collection of images, both of original art work, as well as a variety of other materials, such as book plates, photographs and other types of ephemera.

The Smithsonian Collections: The Smithsonian's site that provides access their massive collections via a simple search engine.


Keyword Searching

Keyword searches can be used in the library catalog and article databases; they are important because these searches allow you to find materials without knowing the title or author of a work.

For example, if you wanted to find books or articles on the Brittany region, your keywords would be "Brittany" and "France," or just "Brittany." If you wanted information on the cultural history of this region, the keywords could include "Brittany" and "cultural history," or if you were only interested in cooking, you could use "cooking" instead of "cultural history."

Remember, you have to command the database to do the search in a particular way -- the way that will provide you with relevant search results. This is done by combining keywords using the Boolean Operators and, or, not.

AND: Retrieves all terms.

OR: Retrieves items that have either one of two search terms.

NOT: Tells the database to ignore records that have a certain term. Ex: Brittany not spaniel . This search would retrieve articles that have the term "Brittany," as in the region, not the dog breed.

Confused? Justin Bloom at the University of Nevada, Reno does a good job of defining these terms at the Mathewson--IGT Knowledge Center.

These operators make it possible to do effective searches in almost any type of database. So, a search using the keywords above, could looke like this: Brittany and cooking , or Brittany and cooking and (cultural history) , or Brittany and cooking and (social history).

Note: "Cultural history" is in parenthesis. This tells the database that it should look for those two terms in conjunction -- the database will not look for the words "cultural" and "history" seperately. When using or the words must be grouped correctly in order to retrieve pertinent results. The search Brittany and cooking or history is not the same as Brittany and (cooking or history).

***If you get zero results you either need to expand your search by using a more general keyword and/or using synonyms for your keywords. If you get too many results, your search should be narrowed by adding keywords to make the search more specific to your topic.***


Library of Congress Subject Headings

Almost all academic libraries use the Library of Congress call number system to organize their collection. These call numbers are based on subject areas and each record of an item in the library catalog has one or more Library of Congress (LOC) subject headings associated with it.One of the easiest ways you can find appropriate materials for research is to do your searches in the library catalog based upon the Library of of Congress subject heading.

The easiest way to find the subject heading is to do a keyword search and find a resource that most closely matches your topic. In the item record you will find the subject headings that have been assigned to that particular item. For example, the classic Mastering the Art of French Cooking has the LOC subject heading "cookery, French" associated with it in its item record. All subject headings are hyperlinked in the catalog; so, to find other materials with "cookery, French" as a subject heading just click on the link.

You can also do a search in the library catalog using LOC subject headings. Here are some LOC subject headings for the subject area of French culture and civilization. Notice that "cookery" and not "cooking" is used as a subject heading.

Cookery -- Dictionaries -- French

Cookery, French -- History

France -- Civilization

France -- Histoire

France -- History

Corsica (France)

Food habits -- France

...and, etc.


Citations - MLA Style Guide

For this assignment you are required to use the MLA (Modern Languages Association) style. There are several copies available for use in the Reference Section and a few copies available for check out, call number LB2369.G53 2009.

There are couple of on-line guides available, but they are not complete. Always consult the actual style guide, or come to the Reference Desk if you need help putting together a citation.

Olson Library's MLA style guide.

Owl at Purdue's MLA style guide.


Library Help

If you're having problems finding materials don't hesitate to ask a librarian for help, just come up to the reference desk. Or, you can get help via chat here.

You can email me at: rajorgen at nmu dot edu

Other Resources in Olson Library: The library has a color printer and a laminating machine. They are located near the circulation desk and are there for your use; they may be helpful in putting together your posters.

Give yourself enough time to obtain materials through Interlibrary Loan, which you can access here



Library Hours
Mon: 7:30 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Tue: 7:30 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Wed: 7:30 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Thu: 7:30 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Fri: 7:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Sat: 12:00 noon - 8:00 p.m.
Sun: CLOSED
For exceptions and full year hours