You can search by keyword, and easily figure out what the best keywords are for your topic. It's more efficient, though, to search by Subject Headings. Library of Congress (LC) subject headings follow a predictible pattern -
Disease name -- Place -- time frame
And each of these is dictated by how LC describes each item.
Plague (older books use 'Black Death')
So regardless of what words the title uses (pox for syphilis, for example), LC groups titles together by topic using these Authorized Subject Headings. Searching with them or following them from a book description is a very efficient way to find our books on a topic.
You can also use books that UVic Libraries does not own. You can find these in WorldCat or in citations or notes in the sources you're reading.
Request them via Interlibrary Loan, and we'll try to get them to you as soon as possible. If you need books that exist only outside of Canada, you'll need permission from an instrutor (this serves for any course, for a year, and is very common for upper year students).
Below are a series of help videos created by UVic Libraries on how to search for and locate books.