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    SCREENING AND CONVERSATION with Margaret Prescod, Founder, Black Coalition Fighting Back Serial Murders and host of “Sojourner Truth” on Pacifica Radio’s KPFK.
    Nana Gyamfi, Lawyer-Black Lives Matter, Black Coalition Fighting Back Serial Murders.

  • Otis Fine Arts hosts a Visiting Artist lecture series featuring Oliver Payne, a Los Angeles-based artist. Read more about him here.
    Contact: Soo Kim, skim@otis.edu
  • Kimberli Meyer trained as an architect and an artist, and has been the director of the MAK Center for Art and Architecture at the Schindler House in West Hollywood since 2002. She has initiated and curated many programs there, including the exhibitions How Many Billboards?

  • Industry Spotlight

    Oct 15| Special Event

    An advertising creative director for more than 25 years, Otis alumnus Josh Weltman was the Mad Men co-producer responsible for Don Draper's credibility as an advertising genius.

    Join us for a behind-the-scenes look at the hit series, plus hear key insights from Weltman's new book Seducing Strangers: How to Get People to Buy What You're Selling.

  • Please join the Digital Media Department for a lecture by  Alina Chau.
    Chau is an Animator, Illustrator and Storyboard artist who has worked with Lucasfilm Animation, Technicolor Interactive Services, and Electronic Arts.  
    Alina Chau received her MFA from the University of California, Los Angeles. She spent over a decade working in the animation industry. Her most notable credit is on LucasFilm’s Emmy Award Winning program, “Star Wars: The Clone Wars.”
  • Otis Fine Arts hosts a Visiting Artist lecture series featuring Yutaka Makino. He lives and works in Berlin.  Read more about him here.
    Contact: Soo Kim, skim@otis.edu
  • Susan Choi’s first novel, The Foreign Student, won the Asian-American Literary Award for fiction, and her second novel, American Woman, was a finalist for the 2004 Pulitzer Prize. Her most recent novel, A Person of Interest, was a finalist for the 2009 PEN/Faulkner Award. With David Remnick she co-edited the anthology Wonderful Town: New York Stories from The New Yorker. A recipient of fellowships from the NEA and the Guggenheim Foundation, and in 2010, the inaugural winner of the PEN/W.G. Sebald Award, Choi lives in Brooklyn.


About Keyword Searching

Search Strategies

A search strategy is an organized method to retrieve information about a specific topic. Use the techniques described below to become a better researcher.

Keyword Searching

In databases and search engines, it is possible to do a broad search for information by typing in a term which you feel describes your topic and using it as a keyword. Every occurrence of your keyword from all the searchable fields will be found. The searchable fields could include the full-text of an article or an entire web page.

You may retrieve a large number of hits. Look carefully at a couple of the relevant hits to get ideas for other terms which could help you refine your search.

Keyword searching can be time consuming and exhausting because it is such a broad method of searching. It can be particularly confusing when searching in a full-text database or when using a search engine on the Web. Remember: Finding too much information is just as problematic as finding too little information.

How can you refine a search?

The distinguishing characteristic of a database is that it contains records with fields that can be sorted, arranged, and searched (see Types of Databases for more information). When confronted with an overabundance of results in a first broad keyword search, you can  narrow your search by limiting it to specific fields. See also: How to broaden or narrow your topic

Searching by Subject Keywords

In some databases (such as EBSCO) you can limit your search to the major content fields: subject, title, and abstract. This will return fewer hits because the term will appear less often when limited to fewer fields. These hits will probably be more relevant to the subject.

Searching by Keywords in Subject Headings

This method narrows your search even further because it limits the keyword search to only one field: the Subject Heading field. In the Otis OPAC (using the Advanced Search), this is called subject keyword. Using a keyword browse or scan allows you to browse terms in a list form. Browsing this list can help you find the correct form of the word (very helpful if you aren't a good speller!). It also shows the number of hits you can expect if you search using the word.

Searching Subject Headings

Searching the Subject Headings field is a very specific method of searching. Subject headings are determined by a human being (an indexer or cataloger) after carefully reading or looking at the item. Each item will have only a few subject terms which must be chosen from a list of allowable subject headings, a controlled vocabulary.

Browsing Subjects is a Good Search Strategy

Because searching subjects is more specific than searching keywords, browsing the subject headings (the allowable terms) from the database is a good way to discover new terms to try. For an example of how to use this search strategy, see Example of How to Clarify Your Topic.

Controlled Vocabularies

In the case of book records in library OPACs, subject headings are usually assigned by catalogers at the Library of Congress at the time the book is published and actually printed within the book (on the back of the title page).

LC publishes a several-volume thesaurus of allowable subject headings called LCSH (Library of Congress Subject Headings). Librarians rely on it as a means of controlling the terms added to the subject field. Since subject headings are created by humans rather than software, searching subject headings is the most precise method of searching.

The LCSH is an excellent place to look if you need ideas or help in figuring out what terms to search. Call Number: Ref. Z 695.

How can you refine a search on the Web?

Since the Internet is not organized in the same way a research database is, you usually cannot do field searching on the Web nor can you rely on the consistency of a controlled vocabulary. But keep in mind that it is possible to use Boolean operators when searching the web; remember to check the instructions for the search engines you use.