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Some sources of background information (topic overviews, definitions) are located in the reference collection. Some are on the main library shelves. Some are electronic.
Contemporary Fashion (Main TT 505.A1 C66 1995)
Brief articles and references to books and articles about designers and companies like Dior and Chanel.
Fairchild's Dictionary of Fashion (Main TT 503.C34 1988)
Les Mots du Costume (Main GT507.G85 1991)
Encyclopedia of Clothing and Fashion 3 vols. (Main GT507.E53 2005)
Pick Your Keywords
Make a list of keywords and phrases that describe your topic.
The words you use to search in indexes and databases (including Google) may determine whether you are successful in finding information. When searching full-text, especially for historical topics, consider alternative terms and spellings, e.g. "callico" and "Kashmir." As you skim through records for books and articles, keep building a list of search terms that will potentially yield results.
Most databases let you construct a Boolean search using AND and OR.
Focus a broad topic by stating your topic as a question.
One way to "frame" the question is to apply some of these four parameters: time, place, person/group, event/aspect.