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Subject and Keyword searching: Subject Searching

This guide how to search using keywords and how to choose the right keywords

Subject Searching

Subject searching is different and not like keyword searching, it relies on what is called controlled vocabulary to retrieve information from databases and other information resources.

When you search a database using subject searching the database will retrieve information by looking for predetermined descriptions that are already there in the database's records.

These descriptions are called subject headingsor subject terms. One of the most used is the Standard Subject description that is called the library of congress subject heading LCSH or LC Subject headings. Some of the subject headings are simple such as a person name Einstein, Albert, or a place or country Argentina, or a thing like a music instrument clarinet.

And some of the subject headings are rather complicated, they elaborate and connects between a number of sub-headings such as: wearable technology, gambian literature, electronic mail marketing....etc.

Advantages of subject searching:

- Can start out broad and see available options to narrow or refine a topic by browsing more detailed subject headings.

- Subject headings or terms are often more precise and have accurate descriptions of the source to which they are attached.

- Looks only in the subject line, and therefore may be more relevant.

- Most subject headings are links, and can therefore quickly and easily lead to other sources on the same topic.

Subject heading searching


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Muna Abdulla
02312 4212
Subjects: Academic integrity

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