Answered By: Research Center Desk
Last Updated: Feb 10, 2018     Views: 74

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 (Academic Search Complete, Business Search Complete, PsycInfo and more) 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 click the gray and red magnifying button (or press enter). After this initial search, you can limit the results by language within the Refine my results menu on the right hand side of the page. Either minimize the various "Sort by" options near the top of this menu, orscroll down until you see the Language menu options:

Compass allows you several options: you can choose merely to exclude one or more languages by hovering over them and clicking the red "exclude this" button that appears, or you can select one or more languages germane to your search for exclusive inclusion. Be sure to click the "Apply Filters" button after this:

Another search strategy you may follow is searching Compass for your keywords in your desired language. This 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 in the Refine my results menu:


Alternatively, you may also begin your search for foreign language items in the Compass Advanced Search menu.

For example, if you are looking for academic sources on anime in Japanese, type in your search and select the appropriate language from the drop down menu.

For the time being, the languages available in this Advanced Search drop-down menu do not represent the breadth of languages available in the library's collection, so if you do not see the language you want to search for in Advanced Search, stick to the first search strategy on this page. 

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