GHPR 620 - Preservation Research Techniques

Library resources and tips for researching properties and buildings.

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Using subject headings for library research

An introduction to subject headings:

No doubt, a vast amount of books have been published throughout history. In order to make sense of all of this knowledge, various classifications systems have been developed. The EMU Library uses the Library of Congress classification system, which organizes materials according to subject, to organize its books. This is important because:

  • material located in the library stacks is organized according to subject, which means that if you locate one book that seems perfect for your research, you may be able to identify others that are shelved near it.
  • you can use an appropriate Library of Congress subject heading to quickly limit your search.

Understanding LC subject headings:

Library of Congress subject headings look like this: Architecture -- Michigan.

They are typically comprised of a primary heading (in the example, Architecture) and one or more subheadings (in the example, Michigan), which narrow the primary heading's focus. As can be expected, the longer the subject heading (the greater number of subheadings attached), the less results you will receive.

Subject headings and Historic Preservation:

The University of California at Berkeley Library has a really good overview of subject headings and subheadings to use for historic preservation research. Additionally, you may want to see the following article for a discussion on the nuances of terms used for homes, housing and architecture. Some examples of useful primary headings include:

  • Architecture
  • Buildings
  • Historic buildings
  • Historic districts
  • Historic preservation
  • Historic sites
  • Neighborhood conservation

Useful subheadings include:

  • -- Conservation and restoration
  • -- Law and legislation
  • -- Remodeling for other use
  • -- Repair and reconstruction

Searching the EMU Library's collection using subject headings:

  1. From the library's homepage, select the "Advanced Search" option below the Esearch search box. Screenshot of the library's homepage with the "Advanced search" option highlighted.
  2. Type your desired terms into the search box and select "Subject Terms" from the drop-down menu on the left, then select the Search button. NOTE: formatting counts. In our example, Architecture -- Michigan, we have to type in Architecture, then a space, the double dashes, then another space, and finally Michigan. Screenshot of an Esearch advanced search query. Note that "Subject terms" is highlighted in the dropdown menu.
  3. You'll be transported to a results screen. From here, you can further limit your results to only physical items available in the EMU collection by using the "Library Catalog" filter on the left. Alternately, you can click on a title to access online material's full-text or the catalog record of physical material. Screenshot of Esearch results with the "Library Catalog" filter highlighted.

 

 

InterLibrary Loan - Books

MeLCat is the fastest way to borrow a book via interlibrary loan. If you can't find the book in MeLCat, try ILLiad.

InterLibrary Loan - Articles

ILLiad Interlibrary Loan

For articles not available online or in the library, use an online form to request it via ILLiad - more info.
Articles are usually delivered online in 3-5 days.

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Questions about this guide?

Bill Marino's picture
Bill Marino
Contact:
103g Halle Library
wmarino1@emich.edu
734-487-2514