Skip to main content

PACS 108: Pacific Worlds - Folktales: Research Tools & Strategies

Keywords & subject headings

By Geography

If searching for the legends of a particular place, use the following subject headings and the name of the country/territory within the Voyager Subject tab.

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

By Deity

If looking for specific deities, try with keyword searching (playing with various spellings)

There are a few deities you can search for by subject search (see list below), but these appear to be limited to Polynesia/Hawaiʻi.  However, most deities are mentioned within more general texts, so keyword searching is best in this case. 

  • Maui (Polynesian deity)
  • Hina (Polynesian deity)
  • Io (Polynesian deity)
  • Kūkāʻilimoku (Polynesian deity)
  • Tangaroa (Polynesian deity)
  • Pele (Hawaiian deity)
  • Kamapuaʻa (Hawaiian deity)
  • Hiʻiaka (Hawaiian deity)
  • Hāloa (Hawaiian deity)


Other Resources

This online guide is primarily intended for students researching origin stories. If you are doing research on other Pacific-related topics, you might also find this guide useful.

You can also find a wealth of subject-specific online guides here.

Basic Research Checklist

Outlined below is an overview process meant to get you started on your search. Often the best search strategy for finding Hawaiʻi and Pacific related material follows these six steps, in this order:

1) Look through the various reference sources compiled about this topic;

2) Search Voyager (books and media);

3) Search the Hawaii-Pacific Journal Index (HPJI) (journal and magazine articles);

4) Search OneSearch (books, media, journal and magazine articles);

5) Search online news sources;

6) Search Google Scholar (articles)/Google books (books).

Note: This online guide is primarily intended for students researching origin stories. If you are doing research on other Pacific-related topics, you might also find this guide useful. You can also find a wealth of subject-specific online guides here.

Places to look, tools to use

Voyager - books and media catalogued and held at UH

1. Keyword searching

  • In the Basic search mode, start with a Keyword search using relevant terms to your topic (suggested keywords in the box on the left), and hit search.
Voyager keyword search
  • This will give you a broad sampling of materials listed by title, some of which should be related to your topic.
Voyager keyword search results
  • Here are instructions on how to request an item from the Hawaiian and Pacific Collections

2. Subject Searching

  • Subject headings are applied to most items in the library's online catalog, and a list of those relevant to this topic are in the box to the left. There is also a list of Pacific subject headings. 
  • Easiest is to select the "Subject" tab.

Voyager subject search

  • The results will be a list of subject headings that include those words. Click on the heading you want and it will take you to a list of all the titles to which that heading have been applied.

Voyager subject search results  Voyager title results

  • Here are instructions on how to request an item from the Hawaiian and Pacific Collections

 Hawaii-Pacific Journal Index (HPJI) (for articles about Hawai'i and the Pacific)

  • Hawaii-Pacific Journal Index is not a full-text database, but it does search the contents of more than 130 scholarly journals and "popular press" magazines published in or about Hawaiʻi and the Pacific. 


  • All of the searching in HPJI is by keyword.  Go to the Advanced Search mode and input relevant keywords.  Suggestions available in the box to the left.

HPJI advanced search

  • You will get a list of articles.

HPJI advanced search results

  • In the article record it will indicate at the bottom how to access the article.  In this example there are copies available electronically, on microfilm, and in print:
HPJI citations
  • Most of the magazines and journals indexed in the HPJI are only available in print, held in the Hawaiʻi and Pacific Collections in UHM library. 
    • For print-only journals, you  will need to go back into the Voyager database, search for the journal title in basic search mode, and then use "Get This Item" to request the specific journal the article appears in.  Here are instructions on how to request an item from the Hawaiian and Pacific Collections
    • Remember to save the publishing information (article title, journal title, issue date, page numbers).  You will need them when you request the Journal issue.

OneSearch includes the UH Voyager Catalog plus a huge index of academic journals on most topics. Also includes conference papers, maps, government documents, music scores, DVDs, archives & manuscripts, and more. OneSearch does not find everything that the library has, but it is a useful starting point for looking for a wide variety of material.


News agregators are websites that gather news from a variety of other sources, or in some cases simply offer links directly to other news sources. They generally feature the major news stories of the Pacific and are therefore the best place to start for most basic news research. The best of the below is arguably the first link on the list, The Pacific Islands Report.

For a more comprehensive listing of online newspapers, magazines, radio and television broadcasts, CLICK HERE.

Google searches can provide good overviews, but remeber that they will not get you everything.

Google Scholar (searching for articles in scholarly journals)


Library website selected resources menu


  • To access UH-accessible articles, click on the link to the right
Google Scholar search results
  • If you find an article in Google Scholar that the library doesn't subscribe to electronically, search in the Voyager catalog to see if we subscribe to the print version. 
  • If the library doesn't subscribe to print, they can be requested through the  Interlibrary Loan service.

Google Books (searching full text within a book)

  • Depending on copyright you may get the full book, or just a "snippet", but usually enough to tell you if it would be a useful resource.
  • Remember to check the  Voyager catalog if you want to see the print version of the book. Almost all books should be available in the Hawaiian and Pacific Collections.  Any that aren't can be requested through the Interlibrary Loan service.
Loading ...