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Gerontology *

This is the primary research guide for Gerontology students and faculty

Books, Dissertations and, yes, Documentaries

Most of the resources on this page describe how to access print materials, but I would be remiss in not including this important site on documentaries.

Search tips

Use keywords in the search box on the USC Libraries' homepage. Keywords the author's terms that appear in the database record (title, abstract - or anywhere for full text databases). Use the left navigation bar to add limits to your search results. Helpful tutorials include: Developing Keywords and the Searching Solutions Research Guide.

Sample keywords in gerontology include the following. When you find appropriate items, use keywords and subject headings (from the records) to improve your future searches.

  • Alzheimer*
  • aging
  • aged
  • elderly
  • geriatric*
  • gerontology

LC (Library of Congress) Subject Headings are an indexing system which applies subject terms to items (no matter which keyword an author uses). For more information, visit the Library of Congress Authorities website. Consider adding these LC Subject Headings to your search:

  • Adjustment (psychology) in old age
  • Geriatrics
  • Long Term Care
  • Medicare
  • Older People
  • Social work with older people

PubMed MEDLINE uses the Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) to index citations. Updated annually, MeSH terms applied to journal articles are then retrieved in other search engines.

  • Geriatrics (or Gerontology): applied to articles ABOUT this branch of medicine
  • Aged: Can be used as a subject term or to limit articles to a those focusing on humans older than 65
  • Geriatric assessment, geriatric psychiatry, geriatric nursing geriatric dentistry: Subject terms focusing on these specific areas of research.

Online Catalogs


USC Gerontology Dissertations and Theses

USC Gerontology doctoral dissertations and masters thesis are available online and at Grand. Several search strategies are listed below. However, be aware these searches bring up all dissertations on gerontology - not just those approved within the the Leonard Davis School of Gerontology.

  • USC Digital Library:
    • Direct search:
    • Alternatively:
      • Go to the USC Digital Library homepage
      • Search for Gerontology
      • Go to Add or remove other collections to your search and click on Show 80 more
      • Deselect: Select All Collections
      • Go to U and select all University of Southern California Dissertations and Theses
      • Click OK
    • To focus your search:
      • Use the Narrow Your Search options in the left navigation menu
      • Click Advanced Search on the drop-down menu in the search box, then Add another field

For more information, visit the USC Libraries Research guide: Dissertations.

For Items Not Available In Full Text

To receive articles or books that the library that are not in full text:

  • Use the USC Libraries' USC Libraries Interlibrary Loan & Document Delivery (IDD) service
  • Fill out the form for the type of item you're requesting
    • Borrow: book, thesis, microfilm, etc.
    • Scan and Deliver: article, book chapter, conference paper
  • Hard copies of materials (books and DVDs) will be mailed to your house (distance-based users) or can be picked up at the Leavey library on campus; Electronic materials (book chapters or articles) will be emailed to you as a PDF

For additional information: visit IDD and Home Delivery.

Recommend a Book for Purchase

We encourage USC faculty, staff and currently enrolled students to recommend items for the library's collections. Subject specialist librarians will consider all recommendations and make a final decision on whether to purchase items.

Click here: Recommend a Book

Do you Like to Browse?

USC offers the option to browse our on-campus collection. Find Browse under . . . (Show more) or use the link: USC Libraries Browse.

The following Library of Congress classifications have a gerontology focus. For call numbers with a range (e.g.  HQ 1060-1064, you will need to search each call number individually: HQ 1060 OR HQ 1061 OR HQ 1062 OR HQ 1063 OR HQ 1064)

  • BF 724.8 = Psychology
  • BV 4580 = Religious life
  • GN 59.A35 = Anthropology
  • HQ 1060-1064 = Gerontology, Social Aspects
  • HV 1450-1494 = Assistance and Relief for the Aged
  • HV 6626.3 = Elder abuse
  • QP 86 = Biology
  • R 726 = Euthanasia
  • RA 777.6 = Personal Health
  • RC 591 = Dementia
  • RC 952-954.5 = Geriatrics