Subject Guides

HIST 230: History of Medicine

This guide features resources specific to topics in the History of Medicine. For general History research and resources see the U.S. History and World History guides.

Finding Books

When you search in Find It!, you're searching in the Library Catalog, Local Digital Collections (Special Collections' Digital Materials and Binghamton University-created materials), and a mega-index of scholarly e-resources including articles, book reviews, ebooks, and more. You can refine your search with the limiters on the left side of the search results page. These include such limiters as date ranges, location, subject headings, and languages.

To search for books in Find It!, follow these steps:

  1. On the Libraries’ website, click Advanced Search on the Find It! tab.
  2. For search scope, select Library Catalog.
  3. For material type, select Books.
  4. Enter your search terms.
  5. Click Search.

Using the advanced search to find books in the library.

Using Subject Headings

The best way to do comprehensive searching is to use Subject Headings. Subject Headings are generally in the format: <Topic> -- <Place> -- History -- <Time Period or other Subheading>
Use the following steps to identify appropriate Subject Headings.

  • Use Keyword search beginning with your terms.
  • If nothing is found, use synonyms or broaden your terms; if too much is found narrow your terms.
  • Combine using terms like “health” or “medical”.
  • Choose two or three items appropriate to your topic. Then look at the Subject Headings used to describe these items and choose the ones that best fit your topic, such as "Medical policy"or "Public health" .
  • Redo your search using these Subject Headings by clicking on the Subject Heading hotlink.
  • Look for Subheadings such as “Health and hygiene” and “Health aspects”, if appropriate.
  • Find corporate authors related to your topic, e.g., "Public Health Council (N.Y.)" or "World Health Organization" by doing an Author Keyword search.

Find It!

  • Epidemics + history
  • Epidemics + (19th or nineteenth)
  • Epidemics + (19th or nineteenth) + Africa
  • 3 Parameters
    • Topical
    • Geographical
    • Chronological


  • use broad terms; then narrow down – vaccin* “united states” [truncation & phrase searching]
  • combine using phrases like “public health” or “social aspects” or “medical policy”
  • add “history”


  • <Topic> -- <Place> -- History -- <Time Period>  :  SH begins “sanita*”
  • subheadings “Health and hygiene” or “Health aspects”
  • subheading “Sources”