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Writing 10 (Varnot): Discovering & Using Subject Terms

College Reading & Writing

Utilizing Subject Terms

Think of subject terms and headings as hashtags that can point you to more sources with the same tags. Rather than searching by specific words, this kind of searching is by pre-established categories.

When you find a useful book in UC Library Search, look at the record's Library of Congress Subject Headings, which are hyperlinked in blue. Click on one to discover other similarly tagged items or use the headings to give you ideas for terms you can try in a keyword search.

Here are the subject headings for the book Pushout.

  • African American girls -- Education.
  • African American girls -- Social conditions.
  • Discrimination in education -- United States.

Most EBSCO databases have a tool to help you discover subject terms. See Academic Search Complete > Subject Terms (find this at the top)

Most ProQuest databases have a tool to help you discover subject terms: See PsycInfo > Thesaurus (find this at the top)


Keywords vs. Subjects

keywords vs subjects chart