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A Guide to LGBTQIA+ Research

A guide to resources and strategies for research on marginalized sexualities and gender experiences

Subject Headings

Searching the catalog with Subject Headings narrows results to materials that are specifically identified with the topic. Subject headings are very useful, however there may be items that are missed! The item record provides the option to "browse" the combined collections of WU Libraries using Browse Nearby Call Numbers. Physically browsing the stacks may also help identify associated topics and materials. Library staff are available to assist in finding materials.

Subject headings reflect the terminology of institutions more often than the vocabulary of minority communities. Often terminology is not updated, and multiple phrases may need to be included for a thorough search. Use OR and * (wildcard) to capture all relevant phrases. 

A subject search for transgender biographies may look like this:
SUBJECT: (transgender* OR transsexual*) AND
SUBJECT: biography

Or search for bibliographies in a search like this:
SUBJECT: (lesbian or gay or bisexual or transgender or transsexual) AND
SUBJECT: bibliography

Or find anything published after 2000 about intersex people:
SUBJECT: (intersex) AND
Within from 2000

Browse Subject Headings
See LGBTQI+ Subject Headings from Indiana University Libraries

For keyword searches in primary sources and older texts, it may be necessary to search for outdated terms that are considered offensive in contemporary circles. Reference sources about the time and specific community (look at resources in Home and Starting Out) can be useful for finding the appropriate language. Pay special attention to euphemisms and other covert ways people are identified in closed societies. For example, it's common to find descriptions of people's clothing or supposed lack of marital partner.

Other places to find books

Searching for Films

The majority of WU Library films are located on Level B or behind the Level 1 Help Desk. Any Advanced Search of the catalog can be limited to Material Type: Video Film, as well as limited by language.