What's a subject term?

Subject terms use a word or phrase to represent a particular topic or concept. For example, the terms "substance abuse", "chemical dependency", and "addiction" are all terms used to describe the same concept, but only "substance abuse" is used as the subject heading. Other topics are sometimes given slightly different names than what we are used to calling them. For example, World War II has been given the subject term of "World war 1939-1945".

Subject terms are assigned by the Library of Congress and are known as Library of Congress Subject Headings. Search the Library of Congress' subject headings catalog.

Search Trick:

Type a commonly used subject term with other keywords to make your words or phrase search more specific:

  • Cookery or Recipes (cookbooks and books with recipes) [e.g. "vegetable cookery"]
  • Guidebooks and Description and travel (finds travel information about places) [e.g. "arizona guidebooks"]
  • Dictionaries (finds language and subject dictionaries) [e.g. "english dictionaries"]
  • Encyclopedias [e.g. "dogs encyclopedias"]
  • History [e.g. "russia history"]
  • Pictorial works (finds photographs or heavily-illustrated books on a subject) [e.g. "gardening pictorial works"]
  • Politics and government [e.g. "united states politics and government"]
  • Statistics [e.g. "population statistics"]
  • Study and teaching [e.g. "study and teaching dance"]
  • Handbooks, manuals, etc. or Amateur's manuals (just type "manuals" to search both) [e.g. "acting handbooks, manuals, etc."]
  • Repairing or Maintenance and repair (general repair books and automotive repair). [e.g. "Chevrolet maintenance and repair"]
  • Languages
  • United States (or other country names)
  • Arizona (or other state names)
  • Coconino County (Ariz.) or other county names
  • Flagstaff (Ariz.) or other city names

Skip ahead to learn how to browse our catalog for other subject terms.

Go back to the main catalog search page.

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