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Locating and Using Subject Headings

A guide to subject headings and controlled vocabulary as used in UC Library Search and databases

Welcome and outcomes

Welcome! Here we'll discuss subject headings and keywords: what they are, how to locate them, and how to use them to improve your research.

OUTCOMES

After reading this guide and doing the included activity, you should:

  • know what subject headings are;
  • understand the difference between subject headings and keywords;
  • know how to locate subject headings in UC Library Search; and
  • know how to locate official subject headings in databases, and use them to locate resources in your field.

Subject Terms vs. Keywords

Pre-activity

Watch the video shown above, then go to the Library's A-Z Databases list (https://libguides.ucmerced.edu/az.php). There are a number of databases listed on the right under "Popular databases." Take a look at two databases listed there: Academic Search Complete, an EBSCO database, and PsycINFO, a ProQuest database. Try a few searches in each database for practice.