Access Points

Access to bibliographic records is provided through access points. Access points are specific pieces of information, such as author, title, or subject (subject headings). This standard information is common to all bibliographic records and is used to locate records or additional information.

The author is the person(s) or corporate body responsible for the intellectual content of the item. It is the person or body that is responsible for creating the item. This means that editors, corporations, government agencies, or meetings can also be considered authors. Some items have more than one author. If you know any author of the item you need, you would use that as your access point. The author's name does not need to be capitalized, nor the first and last names typed in any specific order.


  • Michael Crichton
  • Arctic Science Conference

The title is the identifying name of the intellectual work (book, play, journal, article, video, audio recording, etc.). Some items may have more than one title. You may use either as your title access point, as most libraries will provide title access using both titles. When searching by title do not include insignificant words, such as "the", "an", "a" , at the beginning of the title.


  • For: A Bibliography of Alaskan Literature 1724-1924
    Use: Bibliography of Alaskan Literature 1724-1924

The subject or subject heading is a word or phrase that describes the intellectual content of the item. Bibliographic records represent actual items and some items will be about more than one subject or more than one aspect of a subject. This means that records often have more than one subject heading. Notice the multiple subject headings in the example below. If you want an item about someone, something, or somewhere you would search by subject.


  • Emergency Food Value of Alaskan Wild Plants
    [by] Horace F. Drury and Stanley G. Smith.

    Subject: Survival after airplane accidents, shipwrecks, etc.
    Subject: Food supply -- Arctic regions.
    Subject: Plants, Edible -- Alaska.

Below is an example of how author, title and subject access points appear in a bibliographic record.


Items may have more than one author or title, and therefore, have additional access points. See example:


Citations taken from the UA Library Catalog.

This page was last modified on April 23, 2015