The two most common types of searches are keyword and subject.
Keyword: When you do a keyword search, you are searching for a word or words anywhere in a record. This is similar to searching Google.
Subject: Catalogs and databases organize information according to subject. Results of a subject search will have a certain amount of topic similarity. Different databases/catalogs may use different subjects.
Uses natural language - how we speak. Example: "Cap and Trade" or "high stakes testing"
|Uses a "controlled vocabulary"-information is organized in a very formal way. Example: emissions trading or educational evaluation.|
|Very flexible. Terms can be combined or alternate terms used. Example: swine flu, swine influenza, H1N1||Not as flexible. You must know which subject terms the database or catalog uses.|
|Often retrieve thousands of results, many of which may have little to do with your intended topic.||Results are usually more relevant to your topic.|
|Can search quickly.||Searches take more time - you must first find your subject term and then search.|
Often, keyword searches are quicker but subject searches produce better results.