Unit 4: Search Methods
Lesson 8: Subject Headings
Subject headings are terms and phrases that describe the main topics or subjects of a bibliographic record. Conducting a subject search prompts an online search tool to find words and phrases that are listed only in the subject field of a bibliographic record.
To search by subject, your search terms must be worded and formatted in the exact same way that they are listed in the records of online search tools. For example, to search for information on the subject “Roman Art” in the subject search field, you must enter the search terms “Art, Roman” in your online search tool or your search will yield no results. This is because “Art, Roman” is the universally accepted or standardized way to describe all works on the subject of Roman Art.
Warning: Since subject headings are standardized terms, they have limitations for the everyday user. Searching by subject will greatly narrow your results. Searching by keyword is the best way to find relevant resources, especially when you begin searching for resources.
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