Answered By: Research Center Desk
Last Updated: Nov 03, 2016     Views: 18

There are several strategies for finding books, DVDs, articles, or other materials on a topic in a foreign language.

A couple of basic tips:

  1. When you conduct your search, look to see if you can limit by language either before or after you search.  For example, databases searched in the EBSCO interface must have the limit by language set prior to searching.  Most other databases will allow you to search first, and then limit by language.
  2. Conduct your search in both English and in the language in which you want the materials.

Following are some examples using various databases.

Using the Compass Search on the DU library hompage, type in your English keywords, and then press the red magnifying button (or press enter). After this initial search, you can limit the results by language on the left hand side of the page. 


Next, search Compass for your keywords in your desired language, which should retrieve mainly results in that language.  If you wish to focus on this topic for a particular country, add the name of that country, and if you wish to retrieve just peer-reveiwed articles, select that option at the top of the page:

If you wish to find books and DVDs on immigration into Italy in Italian, try searching the Library Catalog.  Type your keywords into the search box…

…and on the results page, click on Italian in the facets menu to the left:

You can further limit this search to Videos by clicking on "More Options" underneath Resource Type on the left side of the results page...

Then click the "Include" box next to the Video option in the "Refine Search" window and press continue...

If you wish to find everything we have in Japanese in the library, use the "Advanced Search" option - the link is located below the Compass search box.

On the following page, type one asterisk (.) into the first search box, and change the language drop down menu to Japanese, and click on the “Search” button.

You will retrieve items that have all or part of the content in Japanese.

For more tips about searching for materials in foreign languages, contact the Research Center at