extra credit items:
Read: 1) Believe it or not, this "language" is actually controlled. What might that mean? It's simple: there are people who work at the Library of Congress (yes, searching with the right words is that serious) whose job it is to create subject headings (the subject heading "capital punishment" was created in 1909). Once a subject heading is created, its existence makes smart searching possible for people across the world who want to search the catalogs of academic libraries. "Controlling" the language means that, for example, all the works that deal with the death penalty will be found under the subject heading "capital punishment" and NOT under death penalty or execution or state-sponsored execution, etc. The words that describe this subject heading are "controlled" by folks at the Library of Congress (they're called Catalogers).
A quick example of this "control" can be found in your average dresser. All your socks are most likely to be found in one drawer, right? You wouldn't put socks in every single drawer in your dresser because if you did, you'd have to look in more than one place when you wanted a pair of socks and who wants to do this? Instead, you have all your socks in your "sock drawer." You're controlling the location of your socks. Similarly, all the books about the death penalty are located in the "capital punishment drawer" so you only need to go to one place for items that discuss the death penalty. It's brilliant!
Do: 2) To really see a difference in the results you can get doing a search using the wrong search words, do a "Keyword Anywhere" search for items on "Native Americans" (click "Forward" to get to ODIN). Find the correct subject heading (hint: it's "Indians of North America"), and then do a "Subect Keyword" search using the correct subject heading. You will be amazed at the difference between the number of results you get from both searches.