Library of Congress Subject Headings

A subject search for "teen"

All books in our collection have at least one or more subject headingSubject headings: the most specific word or phrase that describes the subject, or one of the subjects of a work, selected from a list of preferred terms., usually more. The subject headings provide another way to find what books we own on a topic. Subject headings are different from tags (that you might find elsewhere on the web) in that there is one agreed-upon term that is used for a particular subject. So where you might tag a web site on teen drug use with several terms like "teen" or "teenagers," the subject heading system we use (developed by the Library of Congress) groups all of those terms under the one word "adolescent." When you search BearCat by General Subject (LCSH) you are actually browsing the subject heading list. You can type in "teen" and it will refer you to the "correct" term used (and related terms, too).

Subject Headings in the LCSH system can also have subdivisions by:

It can be useful to browse the print edition of the Library of Congress Subject Headings which is kept at the Jones Information Desk before you start a term paper to get a sense of what related, broader, or narrower terms can be used.

You can search across multiple subject headings in BearCat. Use the keyword search (either the Quick Search on the BearCat homepage or the Advanced Keyword search page) and place a d: before each word or phrase you are looking for without a space between the colon and the word or phrase. Note: don't put a space between the colon (:) and what follows it.

For example: If you are looking for the biography of someone, you can do a KEYWORD search and use the tag d: before the word, name, or term to ensure that that term is in the subject heading only. So to find a biography of Mark Twain and not include a listing of all the works he wrote, too, do a keyword search like this: d:Mark d:Twain d:biography.

Another example: If you are looking for something on the crusades but only want to know what the Germans did during this time search for d:crusades d:German* - that * will search for spelling variations on "German*" - so you'll get German/Germans/Germany/Germanic all in one sweep.