Searching for Authors
If you are looking for resources written or edited by a particular person, you will do an author search in the library catalog. Author searches should be done last name, first name. If resources are available by two different authors who happen to have the same name, look for clues to determine the appropriate author. If you cannot determine the appropriate author by titles of works, birth and death dates are usually given for clarification.
If you are looking for books about a particular person, you will do a subject search in the library catalog. Subject searches for information about people should also be conducted last name, first name. Resources about authors are often broken down into particular categories using Library of Congress subject headings.
Searching for Topics
There are two ways to search for literary topics in the library catalog, subject and keyword searches. Subject searches look in the Library of Congress subject headings, which have a consistent way of describing the information in library materials, leading you to very specific sources. Subject searches will also clear up any confusion when searching for a word that is a homonym (for example depression). However, occasionally you may miss some very relevant resources by only doing a subject search.
Some Common Subject Headings Relating to Children's Literature
Children's literature, American
[or other country, continent, or ethnic group]
but also specific genres:
Christian literature for children
but also specific types of poetry:
Children's prose poems
Poetry in mathematics education
Illustrated children's books
Personalized children's books
Topics/Themes in Children's Literature, e.g.,
Monsters -- Juvenile literature
Cats -- Juvenile poetry
Keyword searches look for the words you enter in every part of the records in the library catalog. Keyword searches are very flexible, but may result in "false drops" or resources that have all the words you have searched for, but are not actually on the topic you were searching. There are a few techniques to help you create better keyword searches.
AND When AND is placed between keywords, it searches for all the words, but the words need not be near each other and the relationship between the words is not necessarily important
EXAMPLE: Milne and criticism
OR Using OR allows you to search for similar words in one search
EXAMPLE: Monsters and (children's or juvenile)
Truncation Using a wildcard symbol (*) allows you to search for a root word with all of its possible endings
EXAMPLE: Monster* and (children's or juvenile)