Searching For Books 2 – Subject Searches


This video will show you how to search for books on a specific topic and how to browse the library catalog for different books subjects. For basic book search tips please check out “Searching for Books 1.” If you need to find several books on a specific topic conducting a subject search will make it easy. Let’s take a look with a sample word or phrase search. Here we have a book that looks relevant to our topic. I have clicked the title link and the catalog record tab to get more information. If I want to find more books on this topic I can look at the subject terms listed at the bottom. For every item in the library we assign one or more specific words or phrases to describe the main topics of the work. In this case this book deals with these related subjects. Clicking on any of these links will give me a list of all the books on that specific topic. Having specific words or phrases identify a subject is helpful because it ensures we won’t miss out on any books on our subject. However, if we don’t know the exact wording the library uses it could be very challenging. For example, if we did a subject search for ‘guns and crime’ we will get zero results because the subject terms assigned to this topic are ‘firearms and crime’. So what do you do if you aren’t sure what the subject term is? You can browse the different subject terms to help guide you. To do so from the library catalog tab, click the “Author/Subject Browse” link. Enter the search term you want to browse and click the subject button to begin the search. The results will show all the different topics available. The numbers on the right indicate how many resources we have for each subject. If we don’t use the same terms the library does this search will often point you in the right direction. For example, if I type ‘death penalty’ in the search I will see a link for related Headings on the death penalty. Clicking on that shows me that the library uses the phrase ‘capital punishment’ for all works dealing with the death penalty. And clicking on that link will show me the list of topics on that subject. If you need help with searching for books or any other aspect of using the library contact the library reference desk. We are here to help you!

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