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SOCY 122 ASO Section 700: Introduction to Academic Library Research

Subject Terms

The subjects or subject headings assigned to a book are done so using a strict, controlled vocabulary. For this reason, subject headings are not always obvious, which is why a keyword search on your topic is recommended over a subject heading search when you are starting your research. You can also use the Subject filter in Omni to refine your search results.

subject filter in omni

Once you have located a book of interest through a title, author or keyword search, the subject headings become very useful. If a subject heading describes what you are looking for, click on it to find additional items on your topic (clicking it will take you to Advanced Search where you can add in additional details or search parameters), or use the subject headings to give you ideas for other words to use in your keyword searches.

Search Results - Item Record

With your search executed and your search results returned, you can start to apply filters to fine tune your results (which are likely in the thousands if your search was in Simple search):

omni search results

Once you have applied the filters you can then identify useful books on your topic. 

omni book title

The item record provides you with publication information and the item's location (library and call number) and availability: 

For example, look at the full item record for the book, From Tahrir Square to Ferguson (note the link will open in a new window):

Availability, Location and Call Number:

call number

Details, including Subject terms assigned to the book:

omni book details

Virtual browse will let you discover other books classed in the same subject area:

virtual browse

Tools allow you various options for saving your search results and generating a citation to the item:

omni tools

If the book you want is already signed out, you may place a request to get a copy from another library (note: you must be signed in for this option to appear):


Apply as many filters as you need, to refine your results. For example, under Availability, you can select at Queen's for print items or Online for ebooks:

omni filters

And to refine your results to books & ebooks published in a particular date range (ie newer books) choose the appropriate filters:

omni filters