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CIS 1103 - Introduction to Computing: How Do I Find a Subject Heading?

How Do I Find Subject Headings?

Subject Searching


You can do a subject search even if you don't know what subject heading(s) are used to describe your topic.  All you have to do is find one really good item on your topic and look at its subject headings.

A good strategy is:

  1. First, use your own terms in a Keyword Search.
  2. Then, look at the records for items that are on your topic.
  3. Jot down any good subject terms that are listed and use them later in subject searches or
  4. Click on the linked subject term to run a subject search automatically.

For example, a keyword search on librarian and technology might retrieve the following item: 

Title Teaching information literacy online / edited by Thomas P. Mackey and Trudi E. Jacobson.
Imprint New York : Neal-Schuman Publishers, [2011], ©2011.
 SBU SPR Book  028.7071 T22i     AVAILABLE
Description xxiii, 200 p. ; 23 cm.
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references and index.
Subjects Information literacy -- Study and teaching (Higher)
  Information literacy -- Web-based instruction.
  Information literacy -- Study and teaching -- Case studies.
  Research -- Methodology -- Study and teaching (Higher)
  Research -- Methodology -- Web-based instruction.
  Research -- Methodology -- Study and teaching -- Case studies.
  Academic libraries -- Relations with faculty and curriculum.
Added Author Mackey, Thomas P.
  Jacobson, Trudi.
Contents Shakespeare is not a one-shot deal : an open wiki model for the humanities / John Venecek and Katheryn Giglio -- Reusable learning objects : developing online information literacy instruction through collaborative design / Matthew Sylvain, Kari Mofford, Elizabeth Lehr, and Jeannette E. Riley -- Framing multiliteracies : a blended and holistic approach to digital technology education / Andrew Whitworth, Ian Fishwick, and Steve McIndoe -- Finding your fate : the evolution of a librarian faculty collaboration to bring history online / Kristina DuRocher and Lisa Nichols -- Supported open learning : developing an integrated information literacy strategy online / Clarissa Gosling and Ingrid Nix -- Information-literate avatars : resource-based learning in Second life / Jenna Kammer and Tracey Thompson -- Information literacy by design recalibrating graduate professional asynchronous online programs / David Lavoie, Andrew Rosman, and Shikha Sharma -- Working outside the org chart a faculty librarian partnership to design an online graduate course / Susan M. Frey and Rebecca L Fiedler.

Note that the keywords librarian and technology were only found in the contents and not in the subject heading.  Clicking on the linked subject heading will retrieve other items with the same subject heading.


Source:  Our many thanks to the Reference Librarians at Union Institute & University Library for the use of this portion of their Library Research Guide and to the Reference Librarians at LaSierra University for this portion of their Research Guide.)

Subject Headings

Subject headings are search terms used in library catalogs and databases to describe the content of books or articles.  The terms are selected from a controlled vocabulary or thesaurus.

Want to Learn More?

If you're an information junkie  (and want to explore the entire long list of Library Congress Subject Headings), check out the Library of Congress website!