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US - West Africa: Books on West Africa

This guide supports the Medieval Empires of West Africa unit in History 10.

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In our Library

The books above are just a few of the many works that the ZIS Library has on the topic of the Empires of West Africa.  Try some of these search terms and more to see what other resources you can find.

"west africa",    timbuktu,    "songhai empire",    ghana,    mali

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Advice on Searching the ZIS Library Catalog

When you are looking for a book or other resource in the library catalog, it pays to know how to be efficient in order to find the best results.

What do I enter in the Find box?

To start searching your catalog, you must enter either a complete word or a phrase (in quotes) and click a search button.

You can use uppercase or lowercase letters

Searches are not case sensitive. 

You can use wildcards

If you don't know the complete word, or aren't sure how to spell it, add an asterisk (*) to the end of what you do know. An asterisk can replace any number of letters at the end of a word. However, the * can't be used as a word's first or second letter or have any letters after it. 
Example:
If you enter teach*, Destiny finds "teach", "teacher", "teaches", and "teaching".

You could use a question mark (?) to replace a single letter. You can use more than one question mark in a word, but it can't be the first or last letter. 
Example:
If you're not sure whether it's "allegators", allagators", or "alligators", search for all?gators
search for all* would also work, but the results list might be too long.

You can also use a question mark to find multiple forms of a word. A search for wom?n finds both "woman" and "women".

If you want to find a certain phrase, put quotation marks around it. For example, type "children's poetry" or "magic school bus".

Be aware that Destiny treats some words differently

Destiny ignores certain words, called stop words, in search terms. If you need to include stop words in your search term, switch to the Power tab, enter the term with the stop words, and select Starts with.

Depending on your library's preference, Destiny also may ignore leading articles such as "A", "An", "Los", "The", and "Un". You can leave them out of your search term.

If the title begins with an "A" that isn't a leading article, such as A, my name is Ami or G is for Galaxy, put quotation marks around the title.

You can leave out the punctuation

Destiny ignores the punctuation in a search term. 
If your search term includes words separated by a punctuation mark such as a dash, double-dash, hyphen, or slash, leave it out. When you leave it out, don't replace the punctuation mark with a space. 
For example, if you're trying to find Camp Ghost-Away, enter camp ghostaway
If you're trying to find Katie.com, enter katiecom.

You can use Boolean operators

You can create a search phrase from several distinct words or terms with Boolean operators between them. These operators—AND, OR, NOT—define the relationship between the words or phrases in your search term. Make sure to enter those using uppercase letters:

  • cats AND dogs gives you only the titles that mention both cats and dogs
  • cats OR dogs gives you all the titles that mention cats or dogs or both
  • cats NOT dogs gives you only the titles about cats that do not mention dogs

Keep in mind that AND narrows a search, giving you fewer results; OR expands a search, giving you more results. 
Make sure, also, that you don't use OR if you mean NOT. 
Example:
You want to find a nonfiction book by Isaac Asimov that isn't about science. If you search for asimov NOT fiction OR science, your results won't include fiction but will contain science. You should search for asimov NOT fiction NOT science.

How do I know which search button to use?

If you're not sure when or how to use the different search options, see these examples:

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