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English Language & Literature: Books

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Search Strategies

Begin in the STLCC Catalog to find books in the library. The two basic methods for searching are the keyword and the subject searches.

The subject search is somewhat misleading--it only searches for subjects as defined by the Library of Congress.

Because most library users are not familiar with the official Library of Congress Subject Headings, it is often a good idea to begin with a keyword search.


Need more help?

For more help using the STLCC Catalog, visit Searchpath, Module 3.

Keyword Searching

Some examples of keyword searches include

  1. England AND poetry AND romantic*
  2. politic* and poe* and (English or British)
  3. cemet*ry AND poetry

NOTE: The asterisk (*) truncates a term and will retrieve all forms of the word that follow the truncation symbol. For example, politic* will retrieve politics and political; poe* will retrieve poem, poems, poet, poets, and poetry; however, it may also retrieve false hits of words that begin with poe. The asterisk can also be used as a wildcard for an unknown letter, as in cemet*ry, etc.

Subject and Author Searching

Subject headings are standardized terms librarians use to describe the subject content of a book. A book may have one or more subject headings assigned to it. Subject searching is more precise than keyword searching, particularly in large catalogs such as MOBIUS. Below are some examples which can be adapted to different authors.

Arthur Miller

American playwright Arthur Miller, photograph. Marion Curtis/DMI/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images.

Results from your keyword searches may also help you identify appropriate subject headings. Look at the complete record of a book that works for your topic to find its subject headings. You can then try one or more of these headings to search for your topic in the catalog more efficiently. 

To find books by an author, do an author search with and author's name, last name first. This will either take you to a listing of authors names (for example if there is more than one Miller, Arthur listed) or directly to an alphabetical listings of the author's works, as with Rowling, J.K.

librarian can help you with subject searching if you are having difficulty.

St. Louis Community College Libraries

Florissant Valley Campus Library
3400 Pershall Rd.
Ferguson, MO 63135-1408
Phone: 314-513-4514

Forest Park Campus Library
5600 Oakland
St. Louis, MO 63110-1316
Phone: 314-644-9210

Meramec Campus Library
11333 Big Bend Road
St. Louis, MO 63122-5720
Phone: 314-984-7797

Wildwood Campus Library
2645 Generations Drive
Wildwood, MO 63040-1168
Phone: 636-422-2000