collage of ports

This site will be taken down June 30, 2018.

The Penn Online Research Tutorial (PORT) site was built with old software that is neither sustainable nor secure.
The pages have not been maintained, but they can be consulted for historical reference on the Internet Archive.
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Using Subject searches

Subject Heading Searches
Subject heading searches look for categories instead of words, and the exact name of a category is often required to get successful results. Furthermore, names of subjects can be quite unintuitive.

Assume that you are doing a subject heading search in Franklin for books about the history of French film. If you tried the following searches you would receive the following results:

films history france
france motion pictures history
motion pictures france history
motion pictures french history
cinema france hsitory

Only one combination of terms is successful! The others return no results! This aspect of subject heading searches can make such searching difficult unless you already have some idea of what the subject heading is.

Alternatives means of identifying subject headings
If you don't know and can't guess the correct subject heading, you have a few alternatives:

  1. Try a keyword search. This will frequently work fine, but by using keyword searches you lose the benefits of subject searches.
  2. Use a keyword search to locate a subject heading.
  3. Some databases will allow you to do a subject heading keyword search. This will search for specific words in the subject headings area of records--you will not need to know the exact combination of words in the subject heading to get quality results.