Help FAQ - Searching

When I enter a keyword in Basic Search, what is being searched?

The default Basic Search is full text which means that your keyword will be searched in all the item records plus all text that has been transcribed or read by optical character recognition (OCR) technology. You can, however, choose to target your search to specific resource types by using the drop-down list next to the search box. Please see our Guides for more information on searching.

OCR: what is it and how does it affect my search?

OCR is optical character recognition technology that "reads" text images, such as newspapers or books to provide searchable text for locating words or phrases from your search. OCR is not fool-proof, and there is a margin of error in how it translates the text from the images into searchable text. While the overall quality of the OCR results is good, the results may vary depending on how well it "reads" the original materials.

How can I view extracted text (OCR)?

Open the document that interests you and navigate to the desired page. Click "tools/download" at the top of the reading pane, and then select "View Extracted Text" from the drop-down list.

How do I use Guided Search?

Guided Search provides easy-to-use fields that allow you to specify keywords and phrases and combine them without the need to remember special symbols or punctuation. Type your words, phrases, and dates into the dialog boxes, and then narrow your search by selecting limits from the drop-down lists. Please see our Guides for more information on searching.

How do I clear a search dialog box?

We don't provide a special function for clearing the search box. To clear the dialog box simply highlight the text you want to remove and press the delete key on your keyboard. You can also start a new search by clicking the search (magnifying glass) icon near the upper right corner of the screen.

I searched for a specific magazine or newspaper; why did I get so many unrelated items?

You may have forgotten to place your title phrase in quotation marks and target your search to the title field in the item records. If this happens, you can still filter your search results list to show only the title you were seeking. In the left sidebar, you will see a list of categories you can use to filter your search results. Click on "Serial/Series Titles," and then select the title of your item. All the issues will appear in the search results list. To see them in order, use the "Sort Options" tool near the top of the list to choose either "Sort by: Date Created (Oldest)" or "Sort by: Date Created (Newest)."

How do I search for variations of a word?

In basic, guided, and advanced searches, you can insert wildcards into your search terms to tell the search engine to look for any letter(s) or character(s) in the position of the wildcard. Place wildcards in any position except the beginning of the word. Use a question mark (?) to replace an individual letter or character and an asterisk (*) to replace multiple letters or characters. You can use both question marks and asterisks in the same query. Please remember that while wildcards broaden your search, they may produce unexpected results. For more information, please see our Guides.

Why didn't my search results include plurals?

Because we are not currently implementing stemming, neither regular nor irregular plurals are automatically located in a keyword search. To search for both the singular and plural forms of a word, use wildcards in the position of the letters that would form the plural. For example, searching thes?s will locate both thesis and theses. Searching dog? will locate both dog and dogs, but it will also find words such as Doge. Searching child* will locate child, child's, and children, but it will also find many other words with child as their root such as Childress, Childers, etc. For more information, please see the Plurals and Alternate Spellings guide.

Can I search within a search results list?

Yes. At the top of your results list is a basic search box containing your original search terms. You can add, combine, or focus additional search terms, and then click "Search." Your revised search results list will appear. You can also use the categories shown on the left side of the screen to further refine your results. Please see our Guides for more information on searching.

Can I save a list of search results?

Yes. Use your browser's options to bookmark the list. You may find it useful to sort the list in your preferred order before bookmarking. For example, you may want to use the Sort Option "Date Added (Oldest)" so that when you call up your bookmark later, any new items added to the Portal since your original search will fall at the end of the list.