Bibliographic Record Search Options
Leaving the Settings As They Come
This option is pre-set to produce a high number of "hits" or items found, and not for precision
searching. Unless you change the settings of any search page, the search engine will use pre-set or default settings. The example above is pre-set to:
- Find records that contain at least one of the words typed into the box
- Search for the words in the "core fields" parts of the records
- Include words that are close variants (e.g. plurals) of the search words entered
- No more than 100 records will be returned
Overview of the Settings
- Matching the Number and Order of Search Words
- Match any of these words: find all records with any one of the search terms entered. The more search terms you add, the more items will be returned. This setting is a good starting point and is the best setting for producing the highest number of hits.
- Match all of these words: find only records containing all of the search terms entered. The more search terms you add, the fewer items will be returned. This option will help ensure that the items found relate to all of the search terms.
- Match this exact phrase: find only records contining the words you entered, in the order in which you entered them. This option will produce the most precise searching.
Matching an exact phrase can be useful for searching for place names or when common words have a particular sense when used in combination. Requiring a match to an exact phrase in full text can be particularly useful when searching for a phrase in which the individual words are common or have a special meaning when used in combination. For example, the term normal school was used in the last century to describe schools for training teachers. Although records including the phrase would occur first anyway, the search may take less time and the list of results will be simpler. Matching an exact phrase can also be useful if you know a standard subject term, such as description and travel or frontier and pioneer life.
Note: Some very common words, such as and, of, the, a, or to, are ignored even when matching phrases. For this reason, it is possible that you may uncover items that are not an "exact" match.
- Search Fields
This feature can be useful when searching for a particular item for which you know the title, author, or an identification number. It can sometimes be useful to distinguish between works by a person (search on Author/Creator fields) from works about a person (search on Subject fields).
- Search in core fields: The core fields include: Author, Title, Subject, Notes, and other fields considered useful for searching. Among the fields not included are identification numbers, such as Call Number or Digital ID. This offers the broadest searching of the bibliographic records fields and is the best setting for a beginning search.
The core fields include:
- Search in author/creator fields: The author/creator fields include the person, institution, or conference responsible for creating a work. Editors, compilers, collaborators, translators, photographers, etc. are included in these fields.
- Search in title fields: Enter the complete title in order to retrieve the exact record. Words related to a work's main subject frequently appear in its title. To find works
related to your area of interest, enter a few key words in the title box.
- Search in subject fields: The subject fields are a mixture of "controlled" and "uncontrolled" vocubulary. Those records containing "controlled" vocabulary have used subject terms that have been standardized for library cataloging purposes. Note: When a bibliographic record is displayed on the screen, you can click on one of the highlighted subject headings to search for other records that have those same word(s) in the SUBJECT field.
- Search in item ID fields: The ID fields contain the alphanumeric numbers which are assigned to each item. It provides a unique identification number for each record. When this number is known, it becomes an efficient method of finding a particular item.
- Including Word Variants
- Include word variants (e.g., plurals): The results list will include records containing your exact search word(s), plus any records containing words with the same English-language stem(s) (Example: mine, mines, mined, mining, miner, miners).
- Match words exactly: In some cases, it may be useful to require that words be matched exactly, particularly when looking for a phrase.
Choosing the maximum number of records you want returned: A final option allows you to specify the maximum number of items (up to 5,000) you want to retrieve.
Return to Search Tips |
Search American Memory