Examples for this particular course (not exhaustive):
[NOTE: the dashes indicate the subdivisions or sub-headings--for medium, geography, time period, etc.)--but it’s not necessary to type them when searching by subject, and the catalog allows one to browse additional results using any portion of the subject term.]
The PUL library catalog is the place to begin your search to determine what books (and other items) we have at Princeton related to your research. The catalog is NOT generally the place to look for magazine, journal and newspaper articles. For that, you would use Articles+ or a subject Database.
Try to think of words that are specific to your topic. Think of multiple ways to describe what you want.
Use quotes for exact phrases: “water lilies,” "history painting," "climate change"
Combine keywords to narrow your search. The AND is automatic in the library catalog, but not usually in an article database (you must type AND, or use the Advanced Search) to connect terms.
You can also use truncation: e.g. architect* picks up words like “architects” and “architectural” (typically a * or ?)
Keep your search simple. After doing a keyword search (the default search in the catalog), try and limit the results using the “facets” on the left-hand side, like: Subject: Genre, and Subject: Era (and Language). When you find at least one item that seems relevant to your search for content, click on the title and look more closely at the item’s record: if it’s a physical book (vs. an online book or other item), look at the Subject(s) under DETAILS at the bottom. Are they useful for locating similar content, if so, click on one or more portions of the subject term.
Most searchers search by keyword, but subject searching can be very powerful and more precise. When you search by Subject (browse), you can search directly using these subject terms, which might describe a very broad concept, and capture the essence of a book even if the title given no indication of its contents.
Subject terms used in the library catalog are terms used by many libraries in North America developed and created by the Library of Congress. They have evolved over time and adapt to reflect historical norms and changes and to reflect the language we use now and societal norms, but they are not perfect and change is slow. In general, be as specific as you can when coming up with subject terms.
You must put your search words in a particular order when using Subject (browse). A subject can be a person-- LAST NAME, FIRST NAME--a specific (well-known) monument, an art movement, a general concept or theme, a historical event, a geographical region, etc. Headings are left-anchored, which means you need only type in the first few letters/words to see all headings beginning with what you specify.
Alternatively, you can try a Subject (keyword) search to search for any word appearing within a subject term without regard for the proper word order. For both Subject (browse), and Subject (keyword), if there are too many results, one can "edit search" at the top and add an additional keyword to the search.