Searching Smarts: About vs. By
You’ve just read Mark Twain’s travel stories Innocents Abroad and have been inspired to write your ENG1304 paper on Twain’s observations on travel (see a review of Innocents Abroad). Your lunch in the SUB ends early and as you pass by the computers you think to do a quick search to see if there’s any good information on Twain and travel before your next class starts in 20 minutes. So you go to BearCat and to make sure we have something on Twain. But, whoa! you get over 800 results! And most of them seem to have to do with . . . Huck Finn or Southern culture! And I don’t have time to look through that many – you think to yourself – I’ll have to wait until later tonight when I can go through them.
WRONG! Don’t waste this time, just modify your search to search smart. Here’s what the original search looked like:
To modify it first, change the Keyword pull down to LC Subject; then reenter his name in the Last name, First name format (most research resources and databases list personal names this way). This takes you to lists of headings about Mark Twain and excludes the works he wrote. Here’s what that search looks like:
I’ve shown page 6 of the list because that has information on Innocents Abroad – 3 books – but you might scan the other subject headings if you’re still looking for ideas.
So when you want to find information about someone or some specific work, remember to search for these things a subjects rather than as keyword or author
If you remember this tip but don’t want to go through all these steps, just choose the General Subjects (LCSH) link on the BearCat front page.
And for more “Searching Smarts” tips, check out my next blog post on Advanced Keyword Searches.