Written By: Emily Cornell

At the beginning of your research, you may simply have a subject. You’re writing a paper on Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley or sustainable tourism—but you’re not sure what’s exactly out there in terms of information resources. Besides utilizing keyword searching, executing a subject term search can help you locate all the resources UNT has cataloged under a specific subject, since the associated subjects are assigned as access points (“Access Point,” n.d.).

screenshot of subject term search from our catalog with orange rectangle highlighting the "Subject" dropdown

Screenshot of subject term search from our library catalog

Subject searches, in the case of the first example, are different from an author search because the subject search will bring up all resources within the catalog that are “about” Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley and not “by” Shelley. A subject search for the author also brings up criticism and biographies that are directly related to the author as a subject.

Another way to utilize subjects in your search on the catalog is by starting your research journey from one specific catalog record. If you find an item that you’re interested in, there’s a simple way to see what else is within the catalog that is “like” it in terms of subject.

screenshot of item record from our library catalog with orange rectangle highlighting the Subjects located under more item details

Screenshot of item record from our library catalog

For instance, if you found a book on the topic of sustainable tourism in the UNT catalog and you wanted to see what else UNT has that is “like” that book in terms of subject, look under ”Subjects” in the “More Item Details” section of the page. Looking at the subjects of an item allows you to find even more specific subjects, such as is the case with sustainable tourism and the more specific topic of sustainability in heritage tourism, or more broader terms.

Conducting research in college is difficult enough—sometimes you’re learning how databases work, how a new essay structure operates, or how to research an unfamiliar topic and don’t know where to begin. Understanding the different ways to utilize the catalog and its features to your advantage can be liberating and stress relieving.

I hope that in your next research endeavor you’re able to test out the Subject search feature and find more valuable resources!


Access Point. (n.d.). In J. M. Reitz (Ed.), Online Dictionary for Library and Information Science. Retrieved from https://www.abc-clio.com/ODLIS/odlis_a.aspx

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *