Database Records

A database record consists of a group of fields. Pictured below is a record from our Online Catalog for John Grisham's novel The Summons. This record contains nine fields of information.

Catalog Record

If you search by author, the catalog will look for a match only in the author field, and if you search by title, it will only look in the title field. The same is true for the ISBN (International Standard Book Number) and Subject Headings.

Subject Headings are terms given to a book (or other item) when it is cataloged. These terms are taken from the Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) manual, which provides standardized terms and is used by libraries throughout the country.

Note that some fields are not searchable. In the record above, for example, searching by physical description is not possible.

Keyword Searching

For many databases, the default search option is Keyword or Default Fields searching, which allows you to search all the searchable fields of the records in a database at once. This can be especially useful when you are just beginning your research and want to get a feel for what is available on your topic.

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