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A Guide to Books


The Library allows you to search by topic in one of two ways, keyword searching and subject searching both can be done using the Advanced Search function.

Screenshot of Advanced Search function showing keyword and subject searching options

Keyword Search

Keyword is the initial parameter set in the Advanced Search as well as the Basic Search found on the Library home page.

Conducting a keyword search means selecting the main ideas and concepts your topic, brainstorming synonyms and considering the broader ideas that your topic connects to in order to find relevant results.

Books often offer a detailed overview of a broader topic in chapter or essay format. As such they are more general in subject matter than articles and need to be looked for differently. A useful strategy is to search related broader ideas in order to find relevant books that address your topic as an aspect of the broader topic.

Subject Search

A subject search can be more precise than a keyword search. Many of the materials belonging to the Library's collections have been assigned one or more subject headings that can be used to both locate the book and find related books on the same subject.

Unlike a keyword search a subject search does not require your keywords to appear in the book or chapter titles but searches for all books that have been assigned to a select subject.

The easiest way to conduct a subject search is to:

  1. Find a book on your topic using a keyword search.
  2. In the book's Catalogue Record scroll down to Subject and select the subject most applicable to your topic.
  3. Scroll through the results to see all relevant books.
  4. Repeat the process by viewing subjects assigned to other books to see if they are relevant to your topic.

Screenshot of a catalogue record showing where to find assigned subject headings

Another way to conduct a subject search is to select Subject as your parameter in the Advanced Search function or select Subject from the Refine by column. This manner of searching will bring back results related to the subject but will not be as comprehensive as seeking out assigned subject headings.

Screenshot of where to find Subject in the Refine by column

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