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A significant word in the abstract, title, subject headings ( descriptors), or text of an entry in a bibliographic database which can be used as a search term in a free-text or natural language search.

Online catalogs, and most online databases, include a keywords search option which allows users to type words which describe their topic, in any order. The system will retrieve all the records which contain the words typed as input. NOTE: a keywords search does not take into account the meaning of terms used as input. If a keyword has more than one meaning, irrelevant records (false drops) may be retrieved.

See also: stopword.

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