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SPAN 321 Introduction to Latin American Civilization


1) To find material in foreign languages in library catalogs and databases, you have two main options.

  • Use Spanish vocabulary in the search bar: tecnicas, inmigracion, etc.
    • Watch out for homonyms and false cognates. A search for "maya" will not bring back solely articles about the Mayan Empire
    • These searches may return results in languages other than Spanish, but which have Spanish materials in the bibliography or footnotes. Or, articles in English, but published in primarily Spanish-language journals
  • Use the widgets available in most databases to select Spanish materials, usually via a drop-down menu.
    • Depending on the database, the English term may be matched to keywords, abstracts, or subject headings.
  • To search well, you must use both of the methods above.

2) If your word or concept returns too large a set of results, try adding the definite article (e.g. "la mujer" vs. "mujer").

3) Put phrases, titles, or full names in quotation marks if you get too many results (e.g. gabriel garcia marquez vs. "gabriel garcia marquez").

4) VCU Libraries databases will not translate Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT) if you use Spanish. A search for "mayan AND agricultura" will return much different results from "mayan y agricultura."

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