This white box, the first thing you see on the library website, can be a fascinating tool when you start exploring it in detail. You get frustrated first. Stay calm, examine it carefully and realize that you can work with it and achieve amazing results.

Many times students come to the library looking for assistance in writing research papers without having a specific topic in mind. That is when OneSearch filters can come handy.

Let’s look at the Subject/Topic filters. Those are identifiers/labels/tags that tie the avalanche of search results together and guide you through the maze so you can discover some gems in the depth of the results list instead of just picking up the first three documents from the top.

Here is an example of how a broad topic search can be fine-tuned with the assistance of Subject/Topic filters. Type in your search: capital punishment

You get half a million results. Stop (instead of scrolling down) and look for help.

Screen capture of a results page in OneSearch. "Filter my results" is highlighted.


Scroll down the screen looking for different filters until you see this one that you will explore further by clicking on Show More.

Screen capture of the topic/subject filter and show more option in OneSearch. There will be some subjects that will catch your attention like Attitudes and public opinion in our case. Mark them down (these magical boxes to put a check mark will appear when you hover over the words), and then at the bottom you click apply filters.

Screen capture of active filters in onesearch. Now you can see that you have less results but still too many. You go through subject/topic filter again and discover that there is a label college students that you mark down and apply.

You have limited your initial search on a broad topic of capital punishment to a narrow one – what is college students’ attitude towards capital punishment? And your results are also limited to a manageable number that you can easily sift through.

Screen capture of the number of results in OneSearch after applying filters. The number of results are now down to 105.

Happy Subject discovery in OneSearch!

-Maria Kiriakova