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Basic Search Strategies for Online Catalogs

To locate additional books on learning communities, search an online public access catalog (OPAC) such as

The search results will vary depending upon the terms you select and the type of search you conduct.  For example, you may get very few hits if you conduct a subject search using words that have not been adopted as official descriptors.  That is, a subject search for "learning communities" in Sterling may yield no results,  but a keyword or word search will produce results.  A good rule of thumb is to run a different type of search (e.g., a keyword search rather than a subject search) when you don't get any hits.

On the other hand, keyword or word searches may yield a large number of extraneous items that require too much time to sort through.  For greater precision, conduct a subject search using bona fide subject headings which you can find in a book such as the Library of Congress Subject Headings (in the reference room).  If you already know a few good titles, you may also look at the subjects listed at the bottom of the online bibliographic record to see what descriptors have been assigned.

Some subject descriptors that have been assigned to books on learning communities include:

team learning approach in education
interdisciplinary approach in education
group work in education
peer-group tutoring of students
reflective teaching
active learning
student-centered learning
problem-based learning
mentoring in education
computer conferencing in education
web-based instruction
education, higher -- computer-assisted instruction
education, higher -- effect of technological innovations on

The subject descriptors may be used in keyword searches in online library catalogs or in search engines like  Yahoo, Google, or Google Scholar. Also, use other words from the common vernacular as needed; for example, search for communities of practice, collaborative learning, experiential learning, etc.    

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