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Searching for the right language

by on May 1st, 2014

A patron wanted help finding books and articles to use for writing her paper.  The topic, she told me, was to be about young adults living with their parents and how this was a good thing.  What terms were we to use for the search?  “Parents of adult children,” I thought, and I used it as a subject search.  No, that wasn’t the right language.  As a keyword search, it brought up quite a bit.  We scanned through the titles and subtitles of the results list, and I realized we’d have to dig a little to find support for her point of view.  Phrases like “When will my grown-up kid grow up?” and “a revealing look at why so many of our children are failing on their own” were notable.

Some of the titles in the list, like Boomerang kids and The accordion family, looked promising.  So we took a closer look at the records for these two.  Both had “Parent and adult child” as a subject heading.  A subject search with this term brought up a decent looking list and two related subjects.  One of the two subjects was “Sandwich generation.”  The other one, “Adult children living with parents” looked like a winner.  However, ICPL had only one book with this subject heading.

We turned to Ebscohost, one of the Library’s online resources which provides access to magazine and journal articles.  There, “Adult children living with parents” as a subject search yielded a nice looking list of full text articles for her to use.

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