Tutorial: Keyword Searching

What is Keyword Searching?

What is Keyword Searching?

Keyword searching is an effective method for finding information in our specialized online indexes.  Once you learn the basics, your searches will be more focused and provide you 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.

  • A key aspect of keyword searching is choosing the best possible keywords.  You need to think before you search.

With a keyword search you look for one or more words, no matter how those words are related. 

  •  It's like saying: "Find me every item that contains this word."

Thus, a keyword search is a broad and flexible search, useful when you just want to know what's out there.

Location of Terms

If you like, you can specify that the word must be in a particular part of the results: e.g. the title, author, or subject.

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.

  • For example, if you're searching a database of e-journals, you may be able search within the full text of all articles included. 


In the tab above, see an example of the difference between browsing and keyword searching.