Subject searching allows you to search for items that have been categorized under different subjects. These categorizations are searchable in the catalog using subject headings. Subject headings are a standardized search term that group together similar materials so that you can easily find items relevant to your search.
Subject headings are constructed like you would construct an outline, starting with general topics and building towards specific topics.
An outline might look like this:
The subject heading "equivalent" of this outline would be Bible. Matthew -- Commentaries.
Once you know how a certain topic is structured, you can also extrapolate other topics.
People as subjects are listed last name, first name with their birth/death dates.
So...how do you know what the subject heading is for your topic?
Keyword and Subject searching are fundamentally different, in that...
In Keyword Searching, you can use any words in any order, and your results will include these words somewhere in the record (the title, table of contents, summary, etc.)
In Subject Searching, you must use the standardized search terms determined by the library catalog, and the catalog only searches the subject field of each record.
If you try this out in the catalog, you will see that the subject search yields less results, as it has already eliminated irrelevant items that would have come up in a keyword search.
Visit the Opal Help page for more information on searching, requesting Opal items, and using your account.