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Searching Library Databases: Finding Terms

Finding Good Search Terms

  • Use terms found in your background reading on the subject or in items that you find while searching
  • Ask other people in the field for terms used to describe your topic 
  • When you find a record for an item that is useful to you, look at its subject headings or descriptors for more ideas

Although it is not the main purpose of this feature, you can use the Thesaurus or Subject Terms listings, if available, in the databases you are searching to find more possibilities.  One example of a database with Subject term listings is History Reference Center, as shown below. 

If you do a subject search using one of these terms, the results list will be limited to items that are about the subject term (instead of items that have the term somewhere in the full text or in the record).

screenshot of subject browse feature




Email Butler University Libraries
Irwin Library: 317-940-9227
Science Library: 317-940-9937
CAT: 317-940-8575

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