Scholars share a common language. Subject headings (or descriptors) make up the controlled vocabulary used in library catalogs and databases. Ask a librarian for help with finding Library of Congress subject headings that fit your topic.
You don't need subject headings when you have a particular book title or book author in mind.
A simple keyword search is fine for casual searching. But to conduct a precise search forbooks on your topic at Michener Library, do a subject search in our online catalog using subject headings.
Use the asterisk truncation character to pull up related words; for example the keyword search politic* retrieves all records containing the root "politic," such as the words "politics," "political," and "politician."
If you already have one book that is perfect for your topic, look up the subject headings for that book in the library catalog, and follow the links to others on the same topic.
Combine a subject search with chronological subdivisions for more precise results; for example,
the search "Cambodia -- politics and government -- 1975-1979"
yields books about Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge regime;
whereas the search "Cambodia -- politics and government -- 1979-"
yields books about Cambodia post-Khmer Rouge to the date of publication.
Here are some examples of subject headings to use for political science topics: