Browse Our Categories



Magic Search: Getting the Best Results from Your Catalog and Beyond
Rebecca S. Kornegay, Heidi E. Buchanan, and Hildegard B. Morgan
Item Number: 978-0-8389-0990-4
Publisher: ALA Editions
Price: $48.00
Email Friend
  Order Options:  
  Add To Cart  
  Add To Wish List  
This title is also available for purchase as an e-book or as a print/e-book bundle.

160 pages
6" x 9"
ISBN-13: 978-0-8389-0990-4
Year Published: 2009
AP Categories: A, C, E, I

Read sample chapters and the book's index now!

Subdivide and conquer! Magic Search: Getting the Best Results from Your Catalog and Beyond showcases how to increase the power of Library of Congress Subject Heading (LCSH) subdivisions to produce astonishing results from your searches. Rebecca S. Kornegay and Heidi E. Buchanan, experienced reference librarians, and Hildegard B. Morgan, an expert cataloger, explain how, when used wisely, LCSH subdivisions can save time and provide a new level of precision in information retrieval for patrons of the library.

Magic Search presents the 467 best-performing LCSH subdivisions that speak to the kinds of research questions librarians handle every day. This handy reference format and index offers a useful tool to keep for quick reference rather than a cumbersome tome to be read from cover to cover. In addition, this book provides
  • A thematic arrangement of LC subdivisions that yield the most successful search
  • Chapters on discipline-specific subdivisions to hone effective search terms
  • Precise, professional vocabulary useful in searches and explained in easy-to-understand language
Grasping the importance and having command of LC subdivisions, now appearing in unexpected places beyond the library catalog, is key in this rapidly evolving, 21st-century information environment. No other work explores the LCSH subdivisions is such detail or with such commitment, making this book vital to every Reference Desk.

Table of Contents

Using the Book

1. Finding Basic Treatments and Background Reading
2. Finding How-To Guides
3. Finding Images
4. Words, Words, . . . and Numbers
5. Finding Out about People: Individuals and Groups
6. Finding Out about Places
7. Finding Creative Treatments: Stories, Poems, Songs, etc.
8. Finding True Stories: Memoirs, Observations, and Confessions
9. Finding Primary Sources
10. It’s about Time: Time Periods and Chronological Subdivisions
11. Tools for Scholars and Other Professionals
12. Subdivisions That Give Perspective, Put You in Control, and Amaze Others!
13. Useful for the Humanities
14. Useful for the Social Sciences
15. Useful for Historical Research
16. Useful for Business Topics
17. Useful for Education Topics
18. Useful for Natural and Physical Sciences
19. Useful for Medicine and Health Topics
20. Useful for Technology Topics
21. The Baby and the Bathwater: Recommendations

Works Cited

About the Authors

Rebecca Kornegay is head of reference at Western Carolina University’s Hunter Library, in Cullowhee, North Carolina. She received her MSLS from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1977.

Heidi Buchanan is a reference librarian at Hunter Library. Her MSLS is from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (2000).

Hildegard Morgan is assistant head of cataloging at Hunter Library. Morgan has thirty years of cataloging experience and also serves at Hunter’s reference desk. Kornegay, Buchanan, and Morgan are the coauthors of “Amazing magic searches! Subdivisions combine the precision of the cataloger with the freewheeling style of a Googler,” published in Library Journal, November 2005.

“... an upbeat, free-wheeling and entertaining book that is thoroughly grounded in the authors' knowledge of LCSH. Because they know the rules, we don't have to ... Buy this book. Buy this book and add it to the ready reference collection. Buy this book, add it to the ready reference collection and bribe the reference librarians into reading it. And don’t forget to place it near public workstations for quick reference by patrons.”

“This is a valuable resource not only for the library user wishing to make better searches, but also for the librarian and cataloger wanting to see other insights on subject subdivisions.”

“This is a valuable book for anyone working a reference desk dealing with a wide range of questions that require specialized knowledge. This could also be an interesting additional reading for a cataloging, classification, or taxonomy course in which the usage of words might be of interest.”
--Public Services Quarterly

“This little gem of a book packs a heap of practical advice into its 160 pages … a valuable tool for anyone who spends time at a reference desk (physical or virtual). Not only will it help you mine your catalog more efficiently and effectively, it will also give you a renewed respect for the value of professional cataloging.”
--The Journal of Academic Librarianship

"In this short and illuminating reference book, the authors—a veteran reference librarian, a newer reference librarian, and an experienced cataloger—present an approach to subject searching that combines the power of LCSH’s controlled vocabulary with the flexible keyword searching style we’ve become accustomed to ... Highly recommended for all reference librarians."
--The Idaho Librarian

"Reference librarians will benefit from using this practical guide in helping users with their research. This book also fills the gap in library literature by making LC subdivisions meaningful and useful to reference librarians. Additionally, the authors aim to connect various groups of librarians and other professionals by offering straightforward recommendations to each of these groups in the concluding chapter. Their recommendations recognize the unique role of each group in maintaining the cultural record collectively created by library catalogs. In addition to the practical value of the book, it is written in an entertaining and informative style."
--Internet Reference Services Quarterly

  Also of interest:  
Reference Sources for Small and Medium-sized Libraries, Eighth Edition
Item Number:  978-0-8389-1212-6
Containing sources selected and annotated by a team of public and academic librarians, the works included have been chosen for value and expertise in specific subject areas.
Price: $129.00
Virtual Reference Best Practices
Item Number:  978-0-8389-0975-1
When it comes to virtual reference, one size doesn't fit all. What works in one library won't necessarily work in another. How do you figure out what to do?
Price: $54.00
Sequels, Fourth Edition: An Annotated Guide to Novels in Series
Item Number:  978-0-8389-0967-6
Sequels, the most popular and long-lasting guide to novels in series, returns with greatly expanded series listings.
Price: $129.00