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Basic Guide to SOUTHcat: Keyword Searches

SOUTHcat is the catalog of the libraries at the University of South Alabama. It contains records for the books, electronic books, journals, government documents, CDs, DVDs, and other media items held by the libraries.

Searching SOUTHcat by Keyword

Use a keyword search when you have a topic, but do not know the titles or authors of books on the subject. Keyword is the default search type in SOUTHcat and should already be selected in the Search by: menu. Enter a keyword for each aspect of your research question in the Search for: box. You do not need to put and between keywords. Capitalization is not important but spelling is. Then click the Search button.

screenshot of SOUTHcat basic keyword search for "death penalty" innocen?

Tips and Tricks:

  •  Use ? after the root of a word to find all variants of a word (for example, innocen? finds innocent, innocence, innocents…)
  • To search for a phrase, put quotation marks around the words you want to keep together (“death penalty”)
  • Browse the Subject(s) field in records to find the right words for searches. (Example: Try doing a keyword search for "death penalty," then look at the subject(s) field in several records. You’ll see that the subject term is "Capital punishment." Click the subject heading to find more records with this subject.)