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Search Strategies

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, gene, genetic, genome, genomics, DNA, epigenetics, genetic code and molecular biology.

Reference Books

Reference sources can be useful for getting a brief overview of a topic. These sources may also refer you to related books, articles, and other helpful materials. They are therefore often ideal for beginning your research. 

Most print reference sources must be used in the library.

Keyword Searching

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: gene

  • This search will find all records in the STLCC catalog which somewhere contain the word gene.  
  • Records normally include a book's title and author, as well as descriptions of its subject matter. In addition, a record may include a book's chapter headings or a summary of its contents. 
  • Therefore this search will retrieve all records with gene in any of these areas--even books by an author named Gene!

 Narrowing your search with and.  Example keyword search: gene and disease

  • This search will find all records in the STLCC catalog which somewhere contain both the word gene and the word disease.
  • By using and between keywords, you've specified that all of your keywords must be present in the record for it to appear in your results.  
  • One major reason to use and is that it lets you narrow broad searches (gene) to more specific topics (for instance, books on genetic diseases).

Using truncation.  Example keyword search: gene* and disease

  • Using an asterisk at the end of a keyword is called truncation, and lets you search for word variations.
  • This example search will find all records in the STLCC catalog which somewhere contain both the word gene and any words beginning with gene, such as genes, genetics, genome, etc.
  • Truncation may save you time by letting you search for multiple word variations via a single search; however, searching the truncation gene* without appropriate modification by and, not or or may also return records containing generation or Gene Kelly so choose your truncation carefully.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

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 Genetics subject headings you will find in the STLCC Catalog:

  1. Forensic genetics
  2. Gene therapy
  3. Genetic code
  4. Genetic disorders
  5. Genetic engineering
  6. Genetics--History
  7. Human Genome Project
  8. Molecular biology

Current Circulating Titles

The following books are published after 2010 and are available within the STLCC system. The list is meant to explore the science of genetics and its influence on many disciplines.

Getting Books from outside STLCC

    Search for and request books from other academic libraries in Missouri.
  • WorldCat
    World-wide catalog of books.

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