Keyword searching is an effective method for finding information in any computerized database, whether it's TOPCAT (the Library catalogue), an online index, or an Internet search engine. Once you learn the basics, you are capable of searching anywhere, with better results.
In a keyword search, you choose the most important words for your topic - words you would expect to find in every item of interest to you. The system finds all the items with the words you request.
The most important aspect of keyword searching is choosing the best possible keywords. You need to think before you search.
How is this different than a title, author, or subject browse?
Thus, a keyword search is a more broad and flexible search, useful when you just want to know what's out there.
If you like, you can specify that the word must be in a particular field (e.g. the title, author, or subject), but it can be in any position (beginning, middle, or end) within that field.
Most often you're searching a description of an item, like the title, author, subject, or abstract. Be sure to use terms that might appear in these places.
In some cases, you can choose to search the full text, depending on the database you're searching.
In the tab above, see an example of the difference between browsing and keyword searching.
Let's say you want to search TOPCAT (the Library catalogue) for a specific book about Canadian history written by Pierre Berton, entitled Marching as to War : Canada's Turbulent Years, 1899-1953.
You could do any of the following searches:
1. Title Browse: marching as to war
2. Author Browse: berton
3. Subject Browse: canadian history
4. Subject Browse: Canada -- History
Keyword search: berton and history and marching
As you can see, this is even useful when you are not sure of the exact title, but you know it has the word "marching" in it.