The need for subject access on OPACs has been widely recognised since their early development in the USA (Markey, 1984; Matthews, 1985b). Many OPACs in UK academic libraries provide subject access to catalogue records, mostly through search strategics such as keyword access or subject headings searches. However, users do find subject searching more difficult than known‐item searching (Markey, 1985; Bagnall and Jeffreys, 1986) so most OPAC systems provide help screens to assist users in their searches.
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