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Distance Teaching: Faculty

Online library collections, services, assessment, and librarian consultations. Links to Canvas help.

What's the difference?

Compare & Contrast Search Strategies


Keyword Search = looks for word(s) in title, abstract, or body text. 

  • Everyone starts their database search with keywords.
  • But your search doesn't have to end with thousands of overwhelming results.

Subject Heading Search = looks for matching descriptive subject metadata.

A human indexer assigns subject terms to each article, book, and video, using a controlled vocabulary. (This is how most library databases and library catalogs are organized.) Subject headings are basically a strict hashtag system designed to help researchers and students find content faster.

  • Expert users start with keyword searches, then switch to searching by content. 

  • Manage overwhelming results by only viewing subject-relevant content!

1. Keyword Search: Asian Stereotypes

More than 250,000 results is... a lot. There's some good stuff here. But more on-target content and fewer results would help.

Keyword Search

2. View Subject Headings Within Sample Article: Asian Stereotypes

  • Skim the Subject Terms list! Click relevant terms.
  • Easy, fast way to see more articles on similar subjects.
  • More precise than a keyword search in many cases.

Article View

3. Modified Subject Search: Model Minority Stereotype

  • 50 results more manageable than 250,000 results.
  • All results contain substantial content on the model minority stereotype. On target!

Subject Search