Browsing the Subject Guide

The Subject Guide lists all indexed subjects in which the words you searched for occur. The Subject Guide, with its hyperlinked terms, is a powerful search tool that lets you easily expand or narrow your search or take it in a different but related direction simply by selecting terms. Each time you click on a term, a new Basic Search by Subject is performed based on the term you selected.

Full-Page View and the Sidebar View

The Subject Guide appears in full-page view when you launch a search from the Subject Guide Search page. In some collections, the Subject Guide will also display in sidebar view when viewing results. Depending on the collection you are viewing, you may also find the Subject Guide sidebar on the document display page.

Generally speaking, the full-page and sidebar views function the same, as described on the remainder of this page.

How Subject Guide Entries Are Arranged

Entries are displayed in groups and in alphabetical order within each group. The first group shows the entries in which your search word(s) comes first. Next are the entries in which your word(s) comes second, and so on.

The Previous and Next arrow icons above the list and repeated at the bottom let you go backward or forward, respectively, one page at a time. From the full-page view you may enter a term directly in the input box and click Go to "jump" to that term.

Subject terms are hyperlinked, and clicking a term performs a Subject Search and displays a results list. On the full-page view, the Results column to the right displays the number of "hits," so you'll know before you select a subject term the number of results to expect.

"See..." References

Some Subject Guide entries do not have a direct link to results but are followed by one or more entries that start with "See" followed by a hyperlinked subject term. The Subject Guide's thesaurus associates phrases that aren't actually indexed as subjects with subject headings that are indexed, so that even if what you type isn't in the database you'll be shown equivalent entries.

For example, a search for "fish farming" might produce a Subject Guide entry of "See Aquaculture." "Aquaculture" is how "fish farming" is actually indexed in the database.

By establishing equivalent subjects, the system creates more flexibility for you to do subject searches. You don't have to know exactly how a subject is indexed to find references to material about the subject.


Subdivisions take a broad or complex subject and break it into subheadings grouped under the tabs of Topics, Locations, and Dates. Selecting a Subdivisions link focuses your search and lets you see a manageable set of results for a subject that might lead to hundreds or even thousands of references. Subdivisions let you concentrate on those aspects of a subject that are most meaningful to you. Depending on the collection you are using, subdivision links may not be available in the sidebar view of the Subject Guide.

For example, the main subject "Renaissance" may have dozens of subdivisions, such as "Analysis," "Bibliography," "Criticism and Interpretation," and "Religious Aspects." Click a hyperlinked subject to see results associated with that subdivision. Note that results will be limited to articles from periodical publications (such as magazines, journals, and newspapers, where available).

Related Subjects

Related subjects are just what they sound like: subjects that aren't directly about what you searched for but are related in some way. Selecting a Related subjects link will display terms arranged alphabetically under the tabs of Broader, Narrower, and Related terms. Note that not all subjects have broader, narrower, or related terms.

Related subjects lead to additional documents that might be of interest. For example, under the subject "Metalworking," you might find related subjects such as "Manufacturing" (a broader subject term), "Forging" (a narrower term), and "Metallurgy" (a related term).

Click a hyperlinked subject to see search results for the selected term.

Spelling List

If a subject search fails, the search system displays an alphabetical list of words from indexed subjects allowing you to choose a word. This is especially helpful if you've inadvertently misspelled a word.

For example, if you search for "schitzophrenia," there won't be any matches. On the list of possibilities, you should see the word schizophrenia, which is the correct spelling.

The first word in the list alphabetically follows the word you typed. You might need to move backward or forward one or more pages to find the word you want.

If none of the listed subjects is appropriate, go back to the search page and try again. If you're not sure of a spelling, you can use one or more wildcards to replace parts of words.