The STLCC Library Catalog is your gateway to finding all items, including books, which the College Libraries own.
The two basic methods for searching the catalog are by keyword and by LC subject heading. Because most library users are not familiar with the official Library of Congress (LC) subject headings, it's often a good idea to begin with a keyword search. Results of a keyword search can lead to appropriate subject headings. Ask a reference librarian for help with subject searching.
Useful keywords for this subject include, African American Literature, African American poems, African American poet, Black poet, Harlem Renaissance
Every item owned by an STLCC library is listed in the College's Library Catalog. Each listing is called a record. A powerful way to search for books on a particular topic is to perform a keyword search, which looks for records containing the words you use in your search.
Example keyword search: Harlem Renaissance
Narrowing your search with and. Example keyword search: "Harlem Renaissance" AND poetry
Using truncation. Example keyword search: poe* and African-American
Library of Congress (LC) subject headings are special, standardized words and phrases which describe the primary subject(s) on which a book focuses. Searching by subject heading rather than by keyword often allows you to look for books on a particular topic more efficiently.
Since LC subject headings are included in a book's catalog record, looking at the records you get from a keyword search can help you identify appropriate subject headings. Ask A Librarian for help with LC subject searching.
Below are just a few examples of subject headings you will find in the STLCC Catalog:
Identify and define your topic. Put your research topic into a question such as, "What is the debate surrounding vaccination refusal?" Now you can identify the main concepts and keywords, including alternate terms, for your topic.
Background reading will deepen your understanding and vocabulary around the topic, which will help you identify search terms and develop an effective research question. Subject encyclopedias (in print or in Credo Reference) are excellent resources.
Use Search It! or the library classic catalog to find books. Use your keywords to perform both keyword and subject searches.
Use Search It! or individual databases to find journal articles. Be sure to choose appropriate databases for your topic.
Search for reliable and authoritative website resources. Try the librarian recommended websites on this guide.
Always evaluate what you find. Consider timeliness, relevance, authority, accuracy, and purpose.
Cite your sources. Citing gives proper credit to the authors of materials you use and allows your professors to verify your conclusions.
Search Limits allow you to narrow your searches either to availability of articles or article type or date of publication. Search limits can be found beneath the search boxes on both Basic and Advanced Searches, though Advanced Searches may give you more limits to work with.
Advanced Searching is an excellent option to switch to before even beginning a search. In an advanced search, generally, the database provides several search boxes already connected with the word "AND" and often presents even more limit options.
Evaluating the information you find, whether in print or digital format, is an essential aspect of doing research.
Learn to think critically about the source of information and the information within each source by using the Evaluate Your Sources guide (linked below). Once acquired, the habit of critical analysis will serve you in everything you read.
St. Louis Community College Libraries
Florissant Valley Campus Library
Forest Park Campus Library
Meramec Campus Library
Wildwood Campus Library