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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 USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology.

  • USC Digital Library:
    • To search the dissertations and theses in the Digital Library:
      1. Go to the USC Digital Library homepage
      2. Click on: Collections (in the top navigation bar)
      3. Scroll down and click on: University of Southern California Dissertations and Theses 
    • Note: The full-text of every item is searched
      • Use the Search Collections search box to focus your search (initial search)
      • Click Advanced Search on the drop-down menu in the search box, then Add another field
      • Use the Narrow Your Search by options in the left navigation menu
    • Additional searches:
      • Click Search within Results on the drop-down menu in the search box, then add new terms and click the search icon
      • Restart your search by clicking Browse this Collection
    • ​There are 17 collections of Dissertations and Theses;  If fewer appear under Searching collections:
      • Click: Add or remove collections
      • Click: U
      • Check all boxes beside University of Southern California Dissertations and Theses 
      • Click: Okay
      • Resume searching
  • USC Libraries (1976-2006)
    • Direct search:
    • Alternatively:
      1. Go to the USC Libraries homepage
      2. Click: Advance Search
      3. Select Call Number from the drop-down menu
      4. Use: GERON
      5. Click: Search
  • Use the drop-down menus:
    • Anywhere: Gerontology
    • AND
    • University/Institution: University of Southern California
  • Abstracts:

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