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How to Improve Your Search
What is the Difference Between Word and Subject Searching?

Know only a few words in a title, subject, contents note or sponsoring organization? Use a Keyword search. To get more focused results from your search, use a Subject search.


A Keyword search retrieves any record in which the term or terms appear. Some of the records may not be relevant to your specific need.

Example: depression
(retrieves records in which the word "depression" occurs, whether the items are about psychology, history, economics, geology or astronomy.

Use the *symbol to retrieve words with alternate endings. For example, "depress*" will retrieve depress, depression, depressions, depressing, and all other words beginning with "depress".


A Subject search uses the controlled terms in the Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) or in the subject field of a UCR Library Catalog record. To search by subject, enter either the complete subject phase or its first word(s) EXACTLY as shown in LCSH or in the UCR Library Catalog record. The Catalog will usually assist you if you enter the subject terms in the wrong order. Also, search place names, personal names, and proper nouns as subjects.

Example: depression, mental -- psychological aspects
depression mental psychological aspects
Example: depress
(retrieves all subjects beginning with this phrase such as depressed persons, depression glass, depression in adolescents)
Example: hemingway ernest or just hemingway (retrieves material ABOUT hemingway)

Have questions? Need help? Ask at a Reference Desk.

Last modified: 9/11/2012 1:25 PM by M. Potter

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