Help FAQ - Searching

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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 in the Digital Library plus all text that has been transcribed or read by optical character recognition (OCR) technology. You can, however, choose to target your search to metadata, title, subject, or creator using the drop-down list next to the search box. Please see our Guides for more information on searching.

How do I use Advanced Search?

Advanced 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 Advanced Search guide for more information.

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 do I clear a search dialog box?

The Digital Library does not 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 "Search" in the upper right corner of the screen.

Why didn't my search results list 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 Basic Search guide or the Advanced Search 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 “submit.” Your revised search results list will appear. You can also use the categories shown on the left-hand side of the screen to further refine your results. For more information, please see the Search Overview guide.

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 "Sort by: 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.