You can use a subject search to find works about topics, people, organisations, places, government bodies, using terms taken from the Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCHS).
This is a list of standard words or phrases used to provide a uniform or controlled vocabulary for searching for materials by subject.
Every item in our catalogue has been assigned a term taken from this list, to describe the major and related topics of the work, and to enable you to retrieve all works in the collection on a particular topic using one uniform term, regardless of which terms have been used by the authors.
A print copy of the Library of Congress Subject Headings can be found on the third floor of the Reid Arts and Business Library, at Q 025.49 1996 LIB.
The subject index is not a keyword or "free text" index. It is a search where you must use the heading or term specified in the Library of Congress Subject Headings list.
The advantage of searching with LC Subject Headings is that you can use one term to search, rather than a range of synonyms. For example, a search by the term "ethics" will retrieve materials on values, moral philosophy, morality, moral values, applied ethics and so on.
Examples are given below of different types of subject searches:
If you are not sure of an exact subject heading use a keyword search.
Before searching by subject heading, it is important to establish the Library of Congress Subject Heading or term most appropriate to your subject or topic.
You can do this by:
Once you have established the appropriate Library of Congress Subject Heading, type as much of the term as you wish, beginning with the first word.
The system will retrieve all the records containing headings which begin with the characters entered in the search statement. Entering less of the subject heading will find more items.
Entering film will find film adaptations, film catalogues, film directors and the like.
A subject heading search looks for an exact letter-for-letter match of the word(s) you enter, in the order you enter them. The order in which you enter your search is therefore important.
Enter the subject heading in exact word order as specified in the print copy of the Library of Congress Subject Headings. If the subject heading is not entered in correct word order the system will not retrieve relevant records.
The result of a subject heading search is a list of headings that begin with your search term. To view an individual record for a particular heading, click on the heading.
Personal names must be entered with the surname first. If you enter a person’s first name first, the system will not find it but will give you the option to change your search to a keyword search, or you can do the subject search again entering the person’s surname first.
Corporate names of organisations and government bodies must be entered in normal word order (see table of search examples above).
To find works BY a person or corporate or government body, enter the name as an author search.
A subject search can be used to find works about particular titles by entering the author's full name and the title
If you are not sure of the author's full name and dates, type in the surname, then browse through the list of headings to find the title you want.
American spelling is used in Library of Congress Subject Headings: