Friday, January 14, 2011

Catalog Tutorial: Subject Search 1

Tutorial Direct (Full Size) Link:

4 minutes
file format: swf (requires Adobe Flash Player to play)

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One of the most effective ways to find relevant results in the catalog is searching by subject, especially when you find too many results after a simple keyword search.

Here is the detailed record of the book “Authentic happiness“. One of the important things is to look at the
“Related Subjects”: “Positive psychology” and “happiness”. This means that a librarian has decided that these are the two major subjects of the book. One great way to find other books about the same subject is simply click on it. I’ll click on “Positive psychology “ and find that there are 7 books primarily about this topic . I’ll go back to the book record and click on “happiness". Looks like we have 24 books on this subject in our library.

This would be the same if I had typed in “su:happiness” in the search box and clicked on go. Or I could just select “Subject” from the drop down list and type “happiness” and click on go. To do that, I already know that “Happiness” is a Subject Heading that librarians are using. If I search by “happy” instead and click on go, I get no results because that is not a subject heading. Therefore, it is a good idea to write down relevant subject headings that you see on the detailed records.

Clicking on the links only searches for one subject at a time. Suppose I want to search for books on both subjects. I can do an advanced search and type in the subject heading that I just wrote down, “happiness”, and then add a second subject phrase, “positive psychology”. I’ll combine them with the Boolean “AND”, then click on “search”. I see the search result narrowed to only two books that are right on target. You can do the same search with the simple search box by type in “su:happiness and su:positive psychology” in expert mode or by selecting subject and type in “positive psychology happiness”. The computer will automatically add “AND” between each of the three words.

In addition to looking at detailed records of individual books, another way to find subject headings is by looking at my search results. Suppose I searched “happiness” as a keyword. I can look under “Topics” on the left side and click on the “Show more” link to see all the subject headings that I may find useful. These are the subjects associated with the 99 search results.

This concludes part 1 of the “Subject search” tutorial. I recommend watching the second part of the tutorial: “Browse shelf” next. Thank you very much for taking the time to watch this demo.


Links checked 6/11/2013 - cs

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