Subject headings are standardized phrases (or, "controlled vocabularies" in more technical terms) that are assigned to every book, e-book, and journal article in a library's collection. Although they may seem a little intimidating at first, using subject headings when you search for the best source materials on a given topic can end up saving you a lot of time! Try clicking on the subject headings listed below to get a sense of how they work. When you feel ready, consider using them yourself in future research by copying and pasting them into the library's catalog!
Additionally, if you find a great book or e-book in the library's catalog, click on the "Description" tab in the book's record and scroll to the list of "Subjects." Try clicking on the most relevant subject heading you see to find other great books!
Take a look at the example below from the book Bleeding Kansas: Contested Liberty in the Civil War Era by Nicole Etcheson.