Whether you are searching the library catalog or one of the databases we subscribe to, you can search with two different sets of vocabulary. Keywords are words related to your topic that you may use in every day speech or within the field you are studying. Subject terms (sometimes called index terms) are the specific words and phrases the database uses to organize information.
Keywords can be a helpful way to search if you want to do a broad, expansive search into what information there is on a topic. It can be helpful to start your search by creating lists of keywords and synonyms you might use in your research.
Subject terms are applied by experts to the materials within each database. As a result, the articles you find in a subject search will often be more relevant to your needs. The database's thesaurus will help you find the correct subjects to use and often organize the terms to list broader, narrower and related terms. This is a great way to help you find information on your exact topic.