Subjects: General Guides

Quick Links

This page provides tips for patrons using the online library catalog of Shepherd University (referred to as MAX, in homage to the former long-time technical services director, Ms. Maxwell).

Author & Title





Tips for Author and Title Searches


  • Use Last Name, First Name to search for an author
  • Use Author contains if only first or last name is available or the author is not a single person (see below)
  • Authors can be corporations, musical groups, or government agencies, not just people

    ex. Chaucer, Geoffrey 

        ex. King's Singers (musical group) 


  • Remove definite articles (a, an, the) in any language from the search if it is the first word (see examples)
  • Short Stories may be in collections of works, not listed under their own individual titles

      ex. Wife of Bath's Tale or Miserables by Victor Hugo

Tips for Subject Searches



  • All subheadings underneath a broad subject are included in the subject. (A subject can be “narrowed” from general to specific.)

         ex. The subject--Chaucer, Geoffrey—d 1400-- comprises ninety titles. Seven of those               are biographies. Onscreen, the entry would look like this:

                     Chaucer, Geoffrey—d. 1400—Biography               7  items

  •   Subject searching is not always intuitive. It may be easier to perform a keyword search first.

          ex. Wills and their creation is located under Estate Planning.

  •    Authors can be subjects. In most academic libraries, works about a specific author are usually near the texts written by them.

        ex. Chaucer, Geoffrey


Tips for Keyword Searches


  • Search will bring up word found anywhere in the records (author, title. and subject)
  • Useful in general searches, where nothing (or very little) information is known by the user

      ex. Wife of Bath