Look at your assignment to see what type of sources you will need!
In the world of information, there are many different sources of evidence and information. They are also generated for different types of audiences and purposes.
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The Fitchburg State library uses the Library of Congress Classification System.
Call numbers begin with one or two letters and are organized alphabetically on the shelves. These letters describe the general subject of a book. (DS = History of Asia)
The second line is a number, which gives more detail on the specific subject matter of the item. This line is read numerically. (559.44 = Vietnamese Conflict)
The third line often represents the author's last name, and read as a decimal. (S = Smith)
The last line is the date of publication and is read chronologically. (1992)
Almost every search we do online is a KEYWORD search.
This means search results will have your search term anywhere on the page. This is why you often get all kinds of unrelated results in a web search. Search engines don't group pages by subject, and aren't smart enough to know when you type "achilles" you mean the tendon and not the hero of myth, or vice versa. Searches would even return items written by John A. Achilles, or companies named 'Achilles'. Keywords hit on the string of characters you type, not the meaning.
Library resources, however, are organized by SUBJECT.
Every item in the library catalog or in a library database has been assigned specific Subject Terms. This means all the resources about Achilles the hero of myth are grouped and searchable together, under a different heading than resources about the tendon. Subject terms can be a more efficient way to search since they reflect meaning, but subject terms themselves are not always obvious or intuitive.
Not sure when to search with keywords, and when to search with subjects? Use this Quick Guide: