Subject Headings
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  • 1. What are Subject Headings?
    Subject Headings are
    controlled vocabulary terms
    used to classify items.
  • 2. What are Subject Headings?
    Catalogs (e.g. MNCAT) include Subject Headings in their records to describe the content of books, journals and other types of materials.
  • 3. What are Subject Headings?
    Article databases (e.g. Academic Search Premier) use Subject Headings, or Descriptors, to describe the content of articles.
  • 4. Why Use Subject Headings?
    A Subject Heading identifies a concept rather than a specific word. It allows you to search broadly.
    For example, in an ordinary keyword search, the term "teenager" will only return results with the word "teenager" included.
  • 5. Why Use Subject Headings?
    In a Subject Heading search, "teenager" will return results with related concepts, including:
    • teen, teens, teenager, teenagers...
    • 6. adolescent, adolescents, adolescence...
    • 7. and so on...
  • Searching with Subject Headings
    Searching by Subject Heading requires finding the term that best describes the concept. Most databases do this by including a Thesaurus or Headings database. This makes searching using Subject Headings a two step process:
    • First, identify the Subject Heading term that best denotes the concept.
    • 8. Second, use that term to search the database.
  • Here's an example of how to search for a subject heading in Academic Search Premier - WMV.
  • 9. Here's an example of how to search for a subject heading in Academic Search Premier - AVI.
  • 10. Searching with Subject Headings
    Most searches require combining multiple Subject Headings sets to arrive at the ideal set of results.
    In addition, searching is inherently an iterative process, and multiple searches are often necessary to fully access the literature.