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Ancient Egypt

King TutThe section on ancient Egypt is 932. Both the children's department and the first floor collection will have a good number of books in this section that you may check out. However, when several classes are studying ancient Egypt at the same time, there may be very little, or nothing, in this section left to check out. If you find yourself in this situation, don't panic--there are still several options for you, if not quite as convenient.

You may check the "to-be-shelved" carts on first floor for books that have been checked in, but may not be reshelved yet. You may use reference books. These are items that may not be checked out, but which you may use here in the building. It is a good idea to bring some money to photocopy from these books, or to schedule yourself enough time to use these materials here at the library.

Examples of Good Reference Books

  • The Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt R932.003 B885e
    General encyclopedias such as World Book, Britannica, Encyclopedia Americana, etc.

  • Dictionary of Art R703 D561T
    This is a large, multivolume set that is an excellent resource. Ancient Egypt is covered in volumes 9 & 10; but you may also see an article on mummies in volume 24, an article on pyramids in volume 25, and so forth. The index volume has several pages of listings under Egypt for other facets.

  • Oxford Classical Dictionary, R938.003 Ox2H

  • New Grove Dictionary of Music & Musicians, R780.3 N42
    There is an article on Egyptian music in volume 6.

  • Civilizations of the Ancient Near East, R939.4 C4995
    This is a 4-volume set with scholarly articles on Egypt, as well as other ancient Middle East cultures. Although this is a little harder to use than a standard encyclopedia-style book, there is much good information in it.


You may look for magazine articles on ancient Egypt. One good place to start would be the National Geographic Index and its supplements, which cover over 100 years of old National Geographic magazine articles. We do have bound volumes of the older National Geographics for reference use. National Geographic Index, 1888-1988, is located at R050 N21b (Index Table). You may ask a reference librarian to help you find this, and to show you how to search for articles in other magazines. Obviously, there are not going to be as many current magazine articles written on ancient Egypt as on popular topics of today, such as gun control or current politics, but you may find this route well worth trying.


Historical atlases and timelines may be useful. One such book is The Times Atlas of World History, located at R911 T48 1993 (Atlas Case).

Finding Additional Books Using The Computer Catalog

Books on different facets of ancient Egypt may not all be located in the 930's area. A book on Egyptian art, for example, may be housed in the 700's (an art number), or books on Egyptian mythology in the 200's (religion and mythology). So it is not enough to just go to the shelves and scan the 930's. You should use the computer catalog to make certain you find everything.

Here are some examples of subject headings you may search on the computer:

  • Architecture, Egyptian
  • Art, Egyptian
  • Egypt--Antiquities
  • Egypt--Civilization--To 332 BC
  • Egypt--History--To 332 BC
  • Egypt--Religion
  • Egyptian language--Writing, Hieroglyphic
  • Gods, Egyptian
  • Medicine, Egyptian
  • Mummies--Egypt
  • Mythology, Egyptian
  • Pyramids
  • Science, Ancient

What to Do If Everything Is Checked Out

You may also look up specific historical figures, such as Cleopatra, Tutankhamen, Cheops, Hatshepsut, etc.
When faced with the situation of "everything being checked out," you need to be creative in your search for things to take home with you.

For example:

  • There may be items in the pamphlet file to check out.

  • Older encyclopedias may be checked out.

  • It may be helpful to think in terms of broad categories. For example, if you have to write about Egyptian architecture, you might want to look at a comprehensive history of architecture, which may have a section on ancient Egypt. For example, Sir Banister Fletcher's A History of Architecture (720.9 F63) has an entire chapter on Egyptian architecture.

  • Again, thinking broadly, you might overlook a title such as Cultural Atlas of Mesopotamia and the Near East (935 R531c), unless you realize that Egypt was part of this area.

Making Your Research Project a Success!

Again, the keys to a successful library research project are:

  • Start early! Be the person who gets the best books first.

  • Allow yourself plenty of time during your library visit to do research. Don't count on just being able to breeze in and out. Also, bring money in case you need to photocopy from reference books.

  • Ask a librarian for assistance if you keep running into dead ends.


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