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PACS 202: Origins and Migrations: Basic Research Tools

A guide to researching Pacific origins, settlements and movements.

Origins and Migrations films

Online Film Resources

Other Online Resources

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Some Basic Definitions

For Hawaiian and Pacific research, all of the same tools exist as for any other kind of study. There are region- and subject-specific dictionaries, encyclopedias, bibliographies, histories, newspapers, academic journals and etc. In the box below this one, you will find some useful reference works that deal with origins and migrations. However, it may also be useful to keep some definitions in mind when searching for materials, because origin stories in particular are often found in the library's online catalog under one of these terms:

  • Folklore: A broad term used to refer to the traditional beliefs, myths, tales, and practices of a people, which have been passed down orally (or via other non-written means such as dance, theater and etc.)
  • Myth / Mythology: The particular category of narrative deals with the point where the human world blends with the supernatural; the stories often feature interactions between gods and human beings. In oral cultures, these narratives often speak of the origin of things -- the creation of the world, the creation of the things in the world, the ways in which human beings came to live in specific places, the ways in which human beings came to possess technologies like fire. The main characters are often gods or demi-gods.
  • Legend: A traditional narrative that is believed to have an historical basis.
  • Fable: A story with a moral point. Often includes animals that speak or act as humans.
  • Tales: The term "tales" is sometimes used interchangeably with "legend," "myth" or "folklore."
  • Cosmogony: Theories specifically about the origins of the universe. 
  • Cosmology: Theories more generally about the universe, throughout its existence, rather than specifically about its origins.
  • Antiquities: Generally refers to scholarly works that discuss "pre-history" (the era before written histories of a place are available). Sometimes used to refer to things like archaeological reports.
  • Ethnology: A branch of anthropology that deals with the division of human beings into races and their origin, distribution, relations, and characteristics.
  • Juvenile literature: Use this term to look for children's books, which often include origin stories.

Basic Reference Books

Click on the highlighted titles below to see where you can find copies of these books in the Library. Check Locations! Items in the Voyager catalog marked UH Manoa: Hamilton Pacific Reference or UH Manoa: Hamilton Hawaiian Reference can be pulled directly off the reference shelves in the Hawaiian & Pacific reading room. For items marked UH Manoa Hawaiian Collection or UH Manoa Pacific Collection, request retrieval through the "Get This Item" link in Voyager. (Click here for instructions on how to request books using "Get This Item."Note that many of these books are also available in the main Hamilton Library collections, either on the first floor (in the reference area near the elevator) or the second floor, in the open stacks. (Books on the second floor can be checked out of the library; books on the first floor must be used in the library.)

UHM Pacific digital image collections