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ENG380: Folklore, Wonder Tales, and Oral Traditions: Pacific Collection



When searching for traditional narratives, it's useful to keep the following definitions in mind, many of which come from the academic discipline of folkloric studies. When using the library's OneSearch tool, these terms can help to refine your searches for specific types of stories -- though sometimes the terms end up being used interchangeably, they do each have a more specific meaning. One simple way to find these narratives is using a keyword search that includes one of the terms below, along with a geographic place (or a deity's name). For instance, folklore Palau or myth Tangaroa (pro tip: After you've done your search, you can use the "location" limit to select "Pacific" or "Pacific (library use only)" to narrow down to books that are in the Pacific Collection.)


By Geography

If searching using OneSearch for the stories of a particular place, use the following keywords, combined with the name of the country/territory/people. For instance: Folklore Samoan or Micronesia mythologySee also the "Some Basic Definitions" box on the Introduction page for more useful keywords and phrases to pair with geographies.

  • Cosmology
  • Cosmogony
  • Mythology
  • Legends
  • Folklore
  • Folk literature
  • Origin
  • Tales
  • Oral tradition
  • History

By Deity

Sometimes, a deity name is unique enough to search on its own, or in combination with one of the terms above. For instance, Tangaroa myth. In other cases, you may need to be more specific. For instance, searching only for "Maui" will not be very effective. Try instead searching for Maui deity or Maui Polynesia legend or etc.



Examples of assorted literature that draws from folklore

Basic reference texts (plus a database)

OneSearch versus HathiTrust

OneSearch and HathiTrust are both places where you can find electronic books; when you use OneSearch, you are also searching for books within HathiTrust, but there are reasons to search in both places:

OneSearch is a "search aggregator," which means that it searches for a wide variety of resources (books, films, journal articles, audio recordings) in a wide variety of places (within Hamilton library, in various electronic databases, on the open internet and elsewhere). So the advantage of OneSearch over HathiTrust is that it searches a much broader "universe" of information than HathiTrust, and will give you access to electronic books that are not available through HathiTrust.

HathiTrust is also a type of search aggregator, but it is more limited than OneSearch, in that it only searches for electronic books (and some journal articles) and only searches for those books that are freely available from a select group of libraries that are members of HathiTrust -- so there are electronic books that you will find in OneSearch that you will not find in HathiTrust, because OneSearch also searches for books that the library pays for, and which aren't feely available through HathiTrust. On the other hand, the advantage to searching directly in HathiTrust instead of in OneSearch is that, for the books that are in HathiTrust, HathiTrust can be used to search through the entire text of all the books it holds for the keywords you are using (OneSearch does not search the full-text of electronic books, only the "metadata" -- the title, the author, the publisher and so forth).

Long story short, both OneSearch and HathiTrust are valuable tools when you're searching for books on a topic, and you will get different results searching within them.