Researchers typically read only a few pages of a reference book to get an overview of a topic and discover the useful keywords and issues that will help them find more books and articles.
Includes books and other media in US libraries. Used only for locating, not requests. Once you have found an item you would like, you have two options...
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Keyword Search or Subject Search?
1. Keyword Search
Use natural language by typing a word or phrase.
Use simple words, not sentences.
Put quotes or parentheses around phrases when you want to retrieve all of the words, in the exact order given. Example: “American cinema"
You can expand your search by inserting OR between words. Example: science fiction OR fantasy
You can narrow your search by inserting AND between words. Example: gender AND race
You can use an * to retrieve multiple variants of a word with one efficient search. Example: communicat* retrieves results with communicate, communicating, communicator, communicates or communication
Refine your search Example: (American cinema) AND (gender) AND ("science fiction" OR fantasy)
2. Subject Search
Library catalogs use specific Library of Congress Subject Headings to classify books. When you search, the words have to be typed in the exact order used by Library of Congress.
Article databases also use a controlled vocabulary similar to Library of Congress, but different databases may use different subject terms.
*Note: You cannot use operators such as AND or OR , nor truncate with an asterisk when doing a subject search.*
Examples of a few subject headings related to Motion Pictures: