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AMAV 288 - Visualizing Race: Search Strategies


Choose a set of terms and combine them carefully, trying your combinations in all the databases you choose.

Each database will have its own peculiarities of terminology and syntax.  Remember, terms can change depending on time and context.

Having a variety of search strategies and terms will open up many more resources for you to choose from.

Keyword searches allow you to use a broader vocabulary, and can sometimes find things that are inaccessible any other way, but don’t let them make you lazy.  Just because your keyword search didn’t turn up anything, doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist.

Keyword searches include subject headings but return an unsorted list.  Use the keyword to get into your topic; then use the subject headings to organize your information and expand/narrow your possibilities.

Be sure to check for suggestions for broader or narrower subject terms and/or substitute terminology.


  • African American artists (See also…)
  • Latin American art (See Art, Latin American)
  • Art, Latin American (See also Inca Art)

Sample Search Terms and Vocabularies

Art terms:

Art; Arts; Artists; Painters; Sculptors; etc

Race/Ethnicity terms:

African American; Afro-American; Black; Negro; Creole; Kreol; Womynist

Latino; Latina; Chicano; Chicana; Hispanic American; Mexican American; Cuban American; etc.

Asian American; Japanese American; Nisei; Sansei; Chinese American; Korean American; etc.

Indian; Native American; First Nations; Indigenous; Indigenista; Hopi, Kwakiutl, etc.

National/Geographical terms:

South American; Latin American; Chilean; United States; Costa Rica; Mexico; Trinidad and Tobago; etc.