Answered By: Jennifer Harris
Last Updated: Jun 02, 2016     Views: 219

Within a database or online catalog, subject searching allows you to search by categories, which are found in the subject field of an item record. Subject terms are pre-defined and used for all items within a database or source that relate to that term.

For example, let's say you found the following article in a database:

Wilson, F. A., & Stimpson, J. P. (2010). Trends in Fatalities From Distracted Driving in the United States, 1999 to 2008. American Journal Of Public Health100(11), 2213-2219. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2009.187179

The subject terms associated with this article might include: distracted driving, cell phones & traffic accidents, traffic fatalities, etc. By searching for the subject terms supplied by the database alongside this article, you may be able to find similar articles on this topic.

Most Useful For:
  • Once you find a useful resource on your topic, subject searching allows you to find similar resources
  • Allows you to broadly search for sources on a topic
  • Can be difficult to use if the subject associated with a topic isn't obvious
  • Results will vary from one database to another

The library has books and eBooks in our collection which can help answer your questions about subject searching. Check out the books and web resources below for additional information.

Helpful Books from the Library:

 The Oxford Guide to Library Research Book Cover

The Oxford Guide to Library Research by Thomas Mann
Call Number: REF Z710 .M23 2005
ISBN: 9780195189971
Publication Date: 2005-11-01

 The Creative Guide to Research Book Cover

The Creative Guide to Research by Robin Rowland
Call Number: [electronic resource]
ISBN: 9781564144423
Publication Date: 2000-07-01

To find more books and eBooks on subject searching, please search the Multi-Search or the Online Library Catalog.

These web resources may be helpful if you need help with subject searching. However, be sure to evaluate any sources you use--the Shapiro Library cannot vouch for the accuracy of information provided on external websites.

Still Need Help? Ask a Librarian!

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