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Search Basics

Using Subject Headings

SUBJECT HEADING searches involve using the "controlled vocabulary" associated with a specific collection.  This is also known as descriptor or thesaurus terms.  the most commonly known system is the Library of Congress subject heading system.

The correct entry for the Vietnam War is "Vietnam War, 1961-1975 -- United States"

Subject heading searches:

  • allow the computer to match your search with an organized list of subjects or a "controlled" list of words
  • provide more precise results because it only searches the Subject field in the record

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