Monday, November 8, 2010

Keyword Searches, or More Books About Books

I tend to search by keyword in the library catalog. Some librarians will tell you that subject heading searches are more accurate, & they probably are, but then you have to know the subject headings, which I don't always find straightforward (for instance, when I'm looking for a biography of Elizabeth Taylor, the subject "Motion picture actors and actresses -- United States -- Biography" just doesn't come naturally to my brain). If you're interested in checking out subject headings, each book in the catalog has a list of them under the "Find Similar Items" tab. If you click on the subject headings, you will be directed to books with the same subject. However, using a keyword search of part of a subject heading for Jane's Fame-using just the word "appreciation"-brought up a couple more books I'm considering reading. I have often used pieces of subject headings to find books I'm looking for-in my chick lit phase I used combinations of "chick lit", "London" (I like English authors), "single women", & "humorous stories" to search in the catalog for more titles to read.

-The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People who Read Them by Elif Batuman
-Blue Arabesque: A Search for the Sublime by Patricia Hampl

The following two books I have read & highly recommend! Winterson's book is more about art & theory, & Thurman's essays-many of which were previously published in the New Yorker-range from performance art to literature to fashion. Both these books made me want to read more books!

-Art Objects: Essays on Ecstasy and Effrontery by Jeanette Winterson
Cleopatra's Nose: 39 Varieties of Desire by Judith Thurman

1 comment:

Kim Scott said...

I also tend to use keyword search more often than subject. I think it might be a generational thing. Older librarians are used to narrowly defined subject searches while younger people are used to the general keyword functionality made popular by google and amazon. In the olden days, computer systems were very limited and all you had was subject, author, title.