Yale University Libraries and Collections


Start your search with Orbis, Yale’s online catalog.

Orbis contains records for over 10 million items located in 22 libraries on the Yale campus and at the Library Shelving Facility. Besides records for books, Orbis also contains records for serials (journals, magazines, newspapers as a whole — not specific articles within them), electronic resources, government documents, maps, microform collections, printed music, sound recordings, visual materials, manuscripts and archival materials.

  • Subject vs. Keyword searching: Subject searches in Orbis use a controlled vocabulary established by the Library of Congress. Keyword searches look for exact matches of whatever search terms you enter.
  • If you enter World War I as a Subject search, you will not be successful because the approved subject heading for the war is World War, 1914-1918.
  • Keyword searches look throughout a record for the terms entered, including in the Subject fields, so once you determine an approved Subject heading, you can combine it with any other terms to refine your search. For example, a Keyword search for “world war,1914-1918” and Africa would be a good method to begin locating materials related to the impact of World War I on Africa.
  • Note that quotation marks around “world war,1914-1918” cause it to be searched as a phrase in a Keyword search.
  • When you locate relevant materials using Keyword searching, take note of the Subject headings listed for them and use these terms to continue searching.
  • Look at the pages prepared for various Topics in this guide to discover useful Subject headings.

  • Orbis does not include the holdings of the Yale Law Library. Use MORRIS to search the Law Library holdings.
  • If you are looking for a citation in Orbis or MORRIS and can't find it, try searching in WorldCat, which is a database of more than 1 billion records of books and other materials held in more than 10,000 academic, public, special and national libraries around the world. If Yale doesn't hold an item that you need, you can request it by BorrowDirect or Interlibrary Loan.

Use databases to locate articles related to your topic.

Some examples of databases that can be used to locate articles are listed below. You can find others in the “Databases and Article Searching” section of the Library home page.

  • Historical Abstracts: Historical Abstracts contains annotated references to books, articles, and dissertations on the history of the world from 1450 to the present (excluding the United States and Canada, which are covered in America: History and Life). Published since 1954, Historical Abstracts indexes over 2,000 journals published throughout the world. “World War I” is an approved Subject term in Historical Abstracts.
  • America: History & Life: America: History and Life is a bibliographic reference to the history of the United States and Canada from prehistory to the present. Published since 1964, the database comprises bibliographic entries, covering journals published worldwide. “World War I” is an approved Subject term in America: History & Life.
  • Academic Search: Academic Search Premier is a scholarly, multi-disciplinary full text database for many journals with indexing and abstracts for many more journals in the collection. “World War, 1914-1918” is an approved Subject term in Academic Search.

If you need primary sources, check out the Tools for Discovering Primary Sources page.