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Information Literacy: Keyword & subject searching

Information Literacy

Keyword & Subject Searching

Keyword Searching 

keyword ( or word)  search retrieves words or phrases from several important fields, usually title, subject and abstract.

Keyword search: AIDS 

A keyword search usually retrieves more items than a subject search, but they may not all be relevant. For example, a search on AIDS could retrieve:

• aids for the hearing impaired 
• school aids 
• AIDS (the disease) 

A subject search involves searching for a 
subject heading in a database.  A subject heading is a consistent term used when there are several ways to state a concept. For example, the disease AIDS may also be called Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome.


Look in the database thesaurus to find a subject heading for your topic.

Subject Search: Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome.


 Keyword & Subject Comparison