Start with Keywords
All research begins with the language that you use to think about your topic. This language provides keywords, or the natural language you use to describe your research topic. Start your search by developing a simple concept map of your topic using keywords to begin your search for books, DVDs, and other material in the Anna Maria College catalog. Remember, you can search the Library catalog from home 24/7!
Here is a sample keyword concept map to begin research for a philosophy course:
|Concept of place or time
||Concept of subject
|before the Common Era
|Classical Athens||Western philosophy
A subject heading is a descriptive phrase librarians assign to an item to describe its contents or subject. Finding the subject heading that leads to the information you need can be one of the most difficult aspects of doing library research. The keywords you use to describe your topic may not be the same words or in the same order as the subject headings used in the online catalog. If you were looking for book on Italian painters, you could search for keywords Italian painting or use the subject heading, “Painting, Italian.”
Although they are complicated, subject headings are really useful. Always start your search by using keywords of concepts as described in the example above. From the catalog results list, find an item of interest and click on the full record to see the subject headings assigned to that item. Click on the relevant subject heading to retrieve more items in the same category. Be sure to keep track of particular phrases that narrow or broaden your results.
Many subject headings provide detailed information about the item's contents. Use Llibrary of Congress headings in the subject field of a search in the Anna Maria College catalog. If you don't find what you need at the Library, try using the same subject headings defaulting the search to all of C/WMARS. Always remember to ask a Librarian if you need help finding materials for your research.