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Research Guides

Building Language Proficiency

Students in a first-year language course are just building their speaking and reading skills. At this early stage, finding Swedish material that is not overly challenging is an important step in building proficiency. Here are some ways you can begin to explore Swedish language and culture using materials available in the University Libraries. Examples of materials that can help build language proficiency and cultural competency include:

  • Children's books often have simple language and illustrations that can help readers understand the story even if they don't know all the words.

  • Short stories allow readers to practice reading comprehension in manageable portions than longer works like novels.

  • Contemporary literature, available in English translation or in the original Swedish, often reflects contemporary Swedish society and can provide insight into Swedish culture.

  • Folk tales can provide cultural insight into Swedish history and folklore.

  • Film and television can help develop listening skills and gain cultural insights as viewers hear and see language being used in context.

UW Libraries Search

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Tips for Searching

Discover books and other resources in the University Libraries using UW Libraries Search. This tool allows you find materials from UW and other Summit Libraries in the Pacific Northwest. Search with keywords or author, title, and subject headings to find materials on any topic in English, Swedish, or hundreds of other languages.

Keyword Search (Default)

UW Libraries Search default mode is to search for the keywords entered in the search box in any field of the catalog record: author, title, subject, and other text. This is a very broad way to search that can result in hundreds of thousands of results when you execute a search, many of which will not be on the desired topic. Click below for some example keyword searches:

Advanced Search

Advanced search allows you a number of options to refine your search, reducing the overwhelming number of results when using keyword search alone. You can search using uniform author, title, and subject headings to get more focused results. See these example heading searches:

To find author, subject, and other headings for a subject, you can start with a keyword search with your best guess. When you find relevant results, click on the items and look at the Item Details in the catalog record. You will see clickable links with headings you can use to refine your search terms.


Use the filters in the left-hand column to refine and sort results.

  • Search Only: UW Libraries + Summit
    Eliminate articles and other clutter from your search in order to focus on books and ebooks.
  • Language
    Specify English, Swedish, or other languages.
  • Availability
    Specify materials not checked out, available electronically, etc.
  • Resource Type
    Specify Print Books, eBooks, or other material types.

Get a Book

To get the book you can either request the book for pickup within the catalog interface, or use the item information to locate it on the shelf and retrieve it yourself.

  • Request: Items can be requested for pick up at a UW Libraries hold shelf using the "Request UW Item" button in UW Libraries Search. After clicking the button, choose your preferred pickup location and click "Submit". Items will be held for 7 days.
  • Find it on the shelf: In the catalog record, note the book's AVAILABILITY, LOCATION, and CALL NUMBER. Most Swedish materials are in Suzzallo-Allen, but English translations also appear in Odegaard. 

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