Conducting Library Research

Subject Search

Subject searches are more complicated than author and title searches. To be effective you need to create a list of likely headings under which your topic might be cataloged. An extensive list of standard terms used by most libraries can be found online in the Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH).

Steps of a Subject Search Using CSU's SAGE Catalog

Step One

The screen-shot below illustrates the first step in a SAGE subject search for source material about the "Dust Bowl", the 1930's natural disaster in which John Steinbeck set his American classic, The Grapes of Wrath. Feel free to open the SAGE catalog in a new browser window and become the researcher yourself. Select the "Subject" tab and then follow the discussion below.

Screen shot of SAGE subject search

As you can see, the researcher has selected the Subject tab and entered a subject heading into the search field. Notice also the results are to be sorted by the system-sorted option, the default choice provided on the drop-down menu.

Step Two

This screen-shot illustrates the results page returned after submitting the request.

Screen shot of SAGE subject search

This search only produced two results. Notice that one is for children. Each record displays information about the author, the book, the publisher and, most importantly, its location, call # and status.

Step Three

The final screen-shot illustrates the expanded information that comes from clicking on the underlined title of the first record.

Screen shot of SAGE subject search

In this case, the researcher knows the dust bowl has been written about extensively and that there is most likely more source material than these results indicate. Further subject searching can be conducted with a Keyword search.

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Introduction