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Monday, October 6, 2014

Use LOC Subject Headings In Google Books Searches

Google Books is one of the under-utilized search tools that I like to share with teachers and students. I offer an overview of how to use it here. Last week I read Daniel Russell's search challenge of the week and learned to use Library of Congress subject headings in my Google Books searches.

In his post Dr. Russell explains that by using LOC subject headings in your Google Books searches you can use fairly generic terms and get results in the context of the subject heading. He gave the example of using the subject heading "World War, 1939-1945" in his search for book content addressing armor in World War II. Once you have your Google Books search results you can use the built-in search refinement tools to identify content published during a range of dates and to find content that is freely available online (not everything returned in a Google Books search is freely available online). Click here for Dr. Russell's full explanation and visuals of the ins and outs of using LOC subject headings in Google Books searches.

If you visit his post, you will see that Dr. Russell also demonstrates the method with BISAC subject headings. I chose to focus on just the LOC headings for this post because I think that more teachers and students will feel comfortable with the Library of Congress than with the Book Industry Study Group

Applications for Education
Using LOC subject headings in Google Books searches is a bit of an advanced strategy, but one that high school students could add to their search strategies toolboxes. The hardest part of this strategy for many students will be locating the LOC subject headings that are appropriate for their searches. They can search for subject headings here.

My example of using an LOC subject heading in a Google Books search.