Basic Research

This guide is a series of tutorials covering very basic library research tasks.

Author Search

If you have the author's name for an item you are searching for use the author function in OSCAR.  Select "Author" from the pull-down menu.  Remember, last names should be entered first, followed by first name.  If you are unsatisfied with the search results, try searching by last name only.  If there is a difference in spelling with an author's name from one work to another, there will be an authority record in your search results.  This should aggregate items by the same author.

Subject Search

Be careful when doing a subject search.  The subject headings used in the library are based upon the Library of Congress Subject Headings.  If you do not know the exact name of the subject heading you are looking for it is often best to find a relevant item and then search via the subject headings assigned to it.  Please note the example above.  Notice the subject heading below the author and title information.  These subject headings are clickable.  If you click on either of them they will display all items which have likewise been assigned this subject heading.  This can be a very effective method to aggregate similar items together.

Title Search

If you already have the title of an item you are looking for, then the quickest way to find its entry in the catalog is with a title search.  Go to OSCAR, and select "Title" from the pull-down menu.  If you only have a partial or incomplete title do a keyword search instead.

Keyword Search

A keyword search can be a great way to find relevant materials if you do not know the titles of items you are looking for, or the subject heading assigned to them.  A keyword search will search within a record's title entry, author entry, subject headings, uniform titles, corporate names, publishers, and content notes (when available).  If you do not know the title or author and are unsure about the descriptive subject terms then a keyword search is often your best starting point.

Heafey Law Library Research Team