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Two Minute Tutorials (or less)

Finding & Using Synonyms & Related Tools


Extend Search Synonyms & Other Tools

When you do the Extend Search, one option you can choose is to search in Synonyms/Other Tools. Selecting this will do your search automatically in some of the library-created tools designed to help you find related materials. This tutorial will give you a very brief overview of what you are searching when you come to this page.


Extend Search

When you select Library of Congress Subject Headings, you will be performing a keyword search of all of the controlled vocabulary used by the majority of English-language libraries in the world. You can also focus in on the exact word (leftanchored search) by clicking on Browse Heading.

For more information on the use and power of controlled vocabulary, take the Two-Minute Tutorial.


Extend Search

In this example of searching “fascism,� when we click on Browse Heading, you will see how it is used with the various subdivisions, and there is a link for cross-references and notes. Click it.


Extend Search

Now you can see the other, related terms, or synonyms. These are other concepts that may be of interest to you. There is also a Scope Note. We will click on Corporate state.


Extend Search

When you click on one of the related synonyms, you will see the various subdivisions used with it, and often, there are references and scope notes with these terms as well.


Extend Search

The scope notes are very important, since they explain the term you are interested in and provide guidance for using other terms that you may not have thought of.


Extend Search

The LCSH Browser is based on a German project and is another view of the Library of Congress Subject Headings.


Extend Search

WorldCat Identities is an experiment by OCLC WorldCat to make the information in their huge database usable in different ways. It works with names: personal, corporate and geographic.

Here, we see the term fascism as it has been used in the names of different organizations, institutions and other corporate bodies


Extend Search

It can be very interesting when we search a person’s name however. Here is the search for Dante Alighieri.


Extend Search

Clicking on Dante’s name brings you to a page with lots of information derived from the WorldCat database: publishing history, alternative names, related subjects and people, most widely-held books in libraries and so on.

For more information on WorldCat, take the Two-Minute Tutorial World Library Catalogs


Extend Search

VIAF, or the Virtual International Authority File, provides different authorized forms used in several national catalogs, including the major English, French, German, Swedish, Czech, and Hebrew forms, but there are others as well, including Italian which is especially important for us. By searching the VIAF for a name, you can find out what form you should use in an Italian catalog! But it’s unclear how complete the file is.

The default search is simple keyword, for a more specific search, click on Exact Form

For the Italian form, choose the one with the Italian flag. You can then search this form in the database group Roman libraries. NOTE: DO NOT INCLUDE the dates in the search since it will not work.


Extend Search

While the other resources are all library-created and deal with controlled vocabulary for use with catalogs, Visuwords is a regular thesaurus that uses WordNet from Princeton University. It creates a visual thesaurus, can be navigated and shows various relationships between words.

This appears to work best with single words, but try different strategies. When you find other interesting words, you can search them, too using the “Continue search�


Extend Search

The Research Guides tab allows you to search Google in a highly specific way to find out guides for research on topics based on your keywords. These are very useful if you can find one that deals with your topic. A research guide is a manual created by librarians and other scholars to help users find the materials they need. Research guides can be general, e.g. general directions on how to search for a book, or research guides can be specific, e.g. a list of important reference books for medieval Italian art.

To find more Research Guides, see the Two Minute Tutorial on Research Guides


Two Minute Tutorials (or less)

Finding & Using Synonyms & Related Tools Go to: List of Two-Minute Tutorials


Finding & Using Synonyms & Related Tools