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PACS 108: Pacific Worlds - Contemporary Art & Performance: Research Strategies (Library Resources)

This guide is meant to aid students in finding materials about visual and performance art in the Pacific. If you are researching a more general Pacific Islands Studies topic click here

Research Strategies

On this page you'll find tips on how to search primarily for books and journal/magazine articles. See tabs above for info on finding news sources, multi-media and online sources.

Subject Headings

By Geography

If searching for material on a particular place, use the following subject headings and the name of the country/territory within the Voyager Subject tab. For instance, use Art Vanuatu for books about art created in Vanuatu or by Ni Vanuatu (the indigenous people of Vanuatu). For books that cover broader areas, use either one of the below with Micronesia, Melanesia, Polynesia, Pacific or Oceania.

  • Art 
  • Dance
  • Music

By and About an Artist

If your looking for things that have been written by a particular artist, use the Author (Last Name First) search in the Basic Search mode.

For things written about an artist, use the Subject Browse search in  Basic Search mode -- make sure to again search by last name first.

So in other words, if you search for Pule, John in the Author (Last Name First) search, you will find books by the Niuean artist, novelist and poet John Pule. If you search for Pule, John in the Subject Browse, you will find books about him.

Note: These "by" and "about" searches will generally only work for well-known artists, who have either themselves written books or had books written about them. For lesser know artists, see the "Google Books" tab at right, as well as how to search for journal articles (most artists will be written about in magazines and journals before they will make it into books).


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 five steps, in this order:

1) Search Voyager (books and media);

2) Search Google Books (books);

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

4) Search OneSearch (articles)

5) Search Google Scholar (articles)

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 results list
  • 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 result list   Voyager result list

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

Google Books

  • Google Books can at times be a useful tool for searching within the contents of books: It searches the full text of books that have been scanned by Google. If a book is out of copyright or if Google has made arrangements with a copyrighted book's publisher, you will often be able to look at full-text on screen. In other cases, you will be able to see a small "snippet" of the text.
  • When full text is not available online (or even if it is, but you prefer to read the printed version), keep in mind that virtually all of the books you find on Google Books will be available in print in the UH library. So you can also use Google Books as a supplement to our Voyager catalog: Search the contents of the books using Google, then search Voyager for the title.

 Hawaii-Pacific Journal Index (HPJI) (for articles about Hawaiʻi 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 list of articles

  • 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 citation page
  • Most of the magazines and journals indexed in the HJPI 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.

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

Google Scholar (searching for articles in scholarly journals)

  • UH users: access from the Library webpage, click on "Go" button (provides you with automatic access to UH online subscriptions)

Library homepage featured resources

  • 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.
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