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.
Click on the subject headings to locate other resources covering these topics:
Combine concepts with AND to find more relevant sources
picasso AND Africa
internet AND privacy
bedrock AND Massachusetts AND hydrology
Use “double quotes” to find exact phrases
Use proximity searching* to find words near each other
women NEAR violence
progressive NEAR/10 tax
"global warming" NEAR/20 "sea level"
*Proximity searching works differently in different databases. Check the help section of the database to learn how to properly use it.
Use ORs and parentheses to combine synonyms or multiple topics
(oil OR petroleum OR crude)
(antibiotic OR antiviral)
(woman OR girl OR female)
Truncate roots of important words* to find plurals and more
perform* (searches for perform, performance, performativity, etc.)
Insert a “wild card” [*?$!] to catch words with different spellings
*Truncation and wild cards work differently in different databases. Check the help section of the database to learn what symbol to use and how to properly use it.