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Political Science 281: Browsing

Contemporary African Politics
Professor: Elizabeth Iams Wellman
Spring 2022

Using Subject Headings

Subject Headings are terms that are most commonly used to describe the topic that a resource covers. Unlike keywords, which are user generated, subject headings are created and maintained by an authoritative institution. Since Williams Libraries, and most academic libraries, organizes our resources using the Library of Congress Classification, we also utilize Library of Congress Subject Headings to provide access to our collections by subject. Subject headings are arranged systematically, and can be useful tools to help browse the collection by topic. Subject headings for each resource are located in the "Details" section of the catalog record, under "Subjects."

Below are examples of Subject Headings that may be used as starting points for your research projects, and examples of the type of books you may find in the library when using these Subject Headings. 

When doing research with a geographical focus it is helpful to think through how you may broaden or narrow your search terms to expand or limit the results of a query. In the subject headings featured on this page you'll notice both broadening and narrowing of the geographical terminology. For example:

Africa    is broader than    Africa, Sub-Saharan    which is broader than    Zimbabwe

Overwhelmed by your results? Try searching with a narrower term.

Finding few resources? Try a broader term.