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Information Literacy: Search Strategies

An Information Literate Student is a Successful Student

Looking for Print Books?

Start with our online catalog, which features an easy-to-use Google-like appearance. Remember, you need either your activated student ID/library card in order to borrow books or request them from other libraries!  You can get your student ID/library card right in the Jonathan Edwards Library.

Online Interactive Tutorial: Introduction To Searching The BCC Library Catalog

This tutorial will help you navigate the catalog, a database of all of our books, so you can locate a book on the shelf.  NEW For 2019!

Choosing & Using Sources: A Guide to Academic Research - Ohio State University

Choosing & Using Sources - A detailed research guide from Ohio State University.  (This is used in some BCC English classes) - Open Source Text

Full Book:   View Web Version   |   Download PDF   |   Download ePub/iBook   |   Download

Finding That Right Word

The best search strategies depend on finding the right word or phrase to search by. Here's a couple of pointers:

  • Look at the words that describe your subject, whether in an article database or in the library's online book catalog. See if any phrases or terms keep showing up again and again. If they are, use those terms in your keyword or subject searches.
  • Keyword searches are broader and more flexible than subject searches because they use natural language. Why do they provide a broader search? Because subject searches employ more specific terms or subject headings based on the Library of Congress Classification System or a similar controlled language system.   For instance, if you're searching for material on World War II, and you do a subject search, you might get surprisingly few results. Why? Because the Library of Congress Classification System lists World War II specifically as "World War, 1939-1945" as the official subject heading.
  • If you use keyword searching, check to see what the Subject Headings are.  These are normally listed in the results you retrieve for books in our Public Access Catalog, and for articles in our Periodical/Article Databases.

Berkshire Community College's Information Literacy Videos And Interactive Tutorials. - Types of Sources - Searching techniques

Subject Guide

Karen Carreras-Hubbard's picture
Karen Carreras-Hubbard
Jonathan Edwards Library, Berkshire Community College
1350 West Street
Pittsfield, MA 01085