English 102 (Langdon)--Personal History Project: Search Terms

Subject Headings

Library of Congress Subject Headings books

These are the official Library of Congress Subject Headings that you can use for many of your searches in our databases. You would find subject headings such as these by browsing through the Library of Congress Subject Headings books or browsing the "Catalog Record" of every title found in our Library Catalog.

 

EXAMPLES

African Americans

Asian Americans

Arab Americans

Indians of North Americas

Mexican Americans

Hispanic Americans

Nineteen Tens

Nineteen Forties

United States History

Twentieth Century

Civil Rights Movements

World War, 1939-1946

World War 1914-1918

United States 1933 1945

California

San Francisco

Hayward (Calif.)

East Bay (Calif.)

Angel Island


 

 

Keywords

While not official subject headings, these keywords can be very fruitful for your research. Try to also think of other terms such as these. Keyword searches look at all the information in the book or article record including title, author, abstract, table of contents, etc. It always helps to think of synonyms, as the way one person would describe something is not the same way another would.

Psychics (instead of LCSH term, "Parapsychology")

What "Search Terms" to Use?

Using the correct words to search will help you find relevant information. Different authors and search tools use different words to describe the same concepts, so it is useful to have a list of similar and related terms in your arsenal when you set out to search for relevant information. The process of creating these alternative terms is called brainstorming terms or concept mapping.

EXAMPLE

India AND Nineteen Fifties

What "search terms" to use?

Using the correct words to search will help you find relevant information. Different authors and search tools use different words to describe the same concepts, so it is useful to have a list of similar and related terms in your arsenal when you set out to search for relevant information. The process of creating these alternative terms is called brainstorming terms or concept mapping.

EXAMPLE

Sex Differences AND Communication


If for some reason, you are getting results you do NOT want (say for example you want to find only articles on communication in opposite sex marriages) try a NOT search.  Librarians caution that NOT searches often also weed out articles that may have been relevant for you.  So only perform such searches if you have LOTS of results (say over ten that are in full text format):

EXAMPLE

Marriage NOT Same Sex