Helpful Subject Terms

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Using Subject Terms in Academic Search Premier to Refine Search Results

Using Subject Terms in Academic Search Premier to Refine Search Results

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  • Notes: Search “Pumpkin” in basic search. (3697 results) (we want pumpkin farming) Illustrate various ways to refine those search results. Note the variety of subjects that still appear in the search results. Go to “Subject Terms” in top navigation. Type “pumpkin” in the search bar. Select “PUMPKIN growers”. Note that it recommends broader terms and “Used for” terms. (it’s used for pumpkin farmers) check box by “pumpkin growers” and click “Add to search”. Click the search button on the basic search line. Search (basic search) for “pumpkin growers”. (16 results) Go to Advanced search. Type in “Pumpkin growers”, then select “subject term” in the drop-down menu. Press enter. The search history appears above the results. Scroll down OR press “View Results”. Assume you want a specific article on pumpkin growing that you heard about in National Geographic. Type “national geographic in the second search line. Select “SO Journal Name” from the drop down menu. Click the search button. (1 result). Go to Visual Search. Type in “Pumpkin growers” and press enter/search. Note the different subjects that appear in the left hand column. Note the 31 results at the bottom of the column. Go to the Group Results drop down menu. Click “By Publication”. Note National Geographic is near the bottom. Click. (1 result) go back to Group Results by Subject. Type “pumpkin” in the search bar and hit enter. Note all the different subjects that appear. Illustrate how results are refined by subject. As well as how difficult it can be to discover only pumpkin farming articles. Recap: Basic Search, Advanced Search, Visual Search. Subject terms used from Browsing the subject term thesaurus can be an efficient use of search time.


  • 1. Helpful Subject TermsUsing Subject Terms to refine search results inAcademic Search Premier By Nina Collins, August 2012
  • 2. What is a ControlledVocabulary• A way to organize knowledge in order to aid retrieval• They use predefined, authorized terms• Carefully selected words and concepts with a relational element defined
  • 3. Controlled VocabularyAutomobile AutomobileVehicleCar Car Truck SUV VanBroad TermsNarrow Terms Conversion Minivan Van
  • 4. Finding Articles in a Database• All articles available in our online databases have been indexed • Title • Author • Abstract • Date of publication • Subject • Terms chosen from a Controlled Vocabulary • Etc.• When you type your search in the search bar and press enter, the database searches the Title, Author, and Abstract fields • Not the Subject field!
  • 5. Subject Terms• Terms from a Controlled Vocabulary that are applied to resources that have been indexed in the database • They help us locate materials about a specific subject, even if the subject is not mentioned in the Title or Abstract fields• Every Database has Subject Terms • sometimes called Thesaurus
  • 6. Academic Search (EBSCO)• Provides Full-text articles• Covers more than 4,000 different Journals• Covers nearly all Academic Disciplines and Subjects• Offers 3 different search interfaces • Basic • Advanced • Visual
  • 7. If we perform a Basic search for articles on “Pumpkin”, wePumpkin retrieve more than 3,500 results. Narrowing them down by date or full text doesn’t help us locate articles about farming pumpkins, which is what we want. Now we will go to Subject Terms, indicated by the yellow arrow.
  • 8. Browse Subject TermsNow we will Browse the Subject Terms. Enter Your Search Term (Pumpkin) in the SubjectTerm Search Bar (indicated by the yellow arrow), and click Browse.
  • 9. Choose Relevant Subject Term Here we find the that the preferred subject term for farming pumpkins is “PUMPKIN growers” (indicated by the yellow arrow). We will explore this term further by clicking on it.
  • 10. Choose Relevant Subject Term Now we will check the preferred term and click Add (see yellow arrows). This will add this subject term to our search. [DE "PUMPKIN growers“] will appear in our search bar above. (See pink arrows.) When we click Search, our search will only retrieve 16 articles —each of which is about Pumpkin growers.
  • 11. Advanced SearchTo perform the same search in the Advanced Search interface, we type“pumpkin growers” in the search bar. We then select “SU Subject Terms” fromthe drop-down menu and click “Search”.
  • 12. Visual Search We have already entered “Pumpkin growers” in our search box. The Visual Search interface automatically displays Subject TermsEach retrieved record may havemore than one subject termassigned to it. This listrepresents the additional searchterms assigned to the recordsretrieved from our search. Here we find 31 results that were retrieved from our search
  • 13. Visual Search If we click the subject box for “PUMPKIN growers”, we see the same 16 results that we retrieved in subject searches.
  • 14. Visual SearchVisual Search allowsyou to group results bySubject OR byPublicationIf we wanted to find thatarticle we rememberseeing in NationalGeographic that wasabout pumpkin farming,we can Sort Results of thesecond column byPublication
  • 15. Summary• Subject Terms • Help point out the topics or subjects of a resource • Are efficient to use • Are easy to discover• Discovering Subject Terms • Browse the Subject Term index • In Academic Search, click “Search Terms” in the top level menu bar • Ask a Librarian•• Use Subject Terms in Academic Search Premier • Select Subject Term and “Add” to search • In Advanced Search, enter search words and enter as “SU Subject Terms” • In Visual Search, Group Results *by Subject