nmrt

Advanced SearchingTips for the NMRT Archives Database
CONTENTS:

Boolean Operators
Truncation/Phrase Searching
Summary of General Searching Tips
Fielded Searching
  • General Information for all fields

  • Title

  • Author/Creator

  • Subject/Keywords

  • Description

  • Publisher

  • Date

  • Resource Type

  • Source

  • Addressee Name

  • Status

  • Keyword Searching




  • Boolean Operators:

    The only operators available are "AND" and "OR". These operators are not employed directly by the user within the search field boxes, but rather indirectly, via the "Boolean Operator" box at the bottom of the search screen. With the Boolean Operator box left unchecked (the default position), the operator is "AND", both within fields and between fields.

    (Note: Whichever operator is employed, that same operator will always function both within and between fields. One cannot choose one operator for a particular field and another to link different fields.)

    To switch the operator from "AND" to "OR", simply check the "Boolean Operator" box. The search engine then retrieves all documents with any of the terms as opposed to all of the terms as "AND" will retrieve. For example, a search on "midwinter meetings" would then yield any document with either "midwinter" or "meetings" in the field chosen to search. "AND" will retrieve only documents with both terms in the records. Note: Boolean operators should never be written into the search statement in linguistic form.


    Truncation/Phrase Searching:

    Truncation and Phrase Searching employ the same tool, the Phrase Search box. For Truncation searching, this mechanism substitutes for any special symbol and if used, will yield any word containing the sequence of letters you typed into the search box. So prefixes and suffixes will be pulled up.

    Just as the default Operator is "AND", so too is truncation the default setting. In other words, to employ either of these devices, one need do absolutely nothing. Simply type in your terms. In this case, a search for "vision statement" will also retrieve "revision" AND "statements". To turn the truncation off, check the "Phrase Search" box at the bottom of the search screen, and the engine will retrieve only the words as typed - in other words, as a phrase. "AND" will remain the operator between fields, unless the "Boolean Operator" box has also been checked to use "OR".

    As stated above, the Phrase Search tool, when employed, has the effect of forcing a Phrase Search. Phrase searching can be done in all fields except the Keyword/Text field, where all words in the document are indexed singly. To search by phrase, again, simply check the Phrase Search box. This will force the engine to look for the words in exactly the order you put them, as well as restricting the search to only those words, thereby excluding any variations such as plurals, prefixes or suffixes.

    Summary of General Searching Tips:

    1) Only the operators "AND" or "OR" can be used in a search, but not in combination with each other.
    2) The control mechanism for changing operators is the Boolean Operator box at the bottom of the search screen.
    3) If the Boolean Operator box is left unchecked (default position), the operator is "AND". If the box is checked, the operator becomes "OR". Whichever operator is chosen will function on all information both within and between fields.
                   Note: The one exception to this is when Phrase Search is checked. Then a phrase search is forced in all fields where there are multiple words input, and the operator chosen through Boolean Operator will function only between fields.
    4) Both Phrase Searching and Truncation are effected by the Phrase Search box. If left unchecked, truncation will ensue. If checked, phrase searching will result, looking for exact matches in both content and order.

    FIELDED SEARCHING

    General Information for all fields:


    Searches can be conducted very easily employing only one field or multiple fields in combination with one another, depending on the searcher's needs. To search effectively, however, a bit of information about how the database operates is necessary.
    Title:

    For NMRT minutes (currently the only type of document represented in the database), the Title field search is probably not all that useful. Titles of the minutes tend to be rather general in nature, and don't yield a practical way to narrow one's search effectively.

    Author/Creator:

    This field works very well when one is searching for minutes or documents authored by a specific individual. In the case of the minutes which have been indexed, the author will almost exclusively be the Secretary at the time the meeting took place.

    Subject/Keywords:

    Each record has selected keywords created by the indexer, which indicate the nature of the document in question. They tend to be rather general in nature, however, so are of limited use when searching within just the minutes.

    Description:

    This is probably one of the best fields to search when looking for specific minutes from a specific meeting. For example, if one were looking for the minutes of an NMRT Board Meeting which took place in Chicago at the Midwinter Meeting, this is a good field to use. Data represented here includes the nature of the meeting, place of meeting, time of meeting (e.g. both year and Annual or Midwinter). To be even more efficient in searching, one should probably incorporate this field with the Date field, as opposed to using the date in the Description field.

    Publisher:

    As more and more different kinds of documents are indexed and placed in the database, this will become a useful field for searching for documents created by a specific group within NMRT. Examples of "Publishers": President, Treasurer, Handbook Committee, Archives Committee, etc. By itself, this field can serve as a Browse function.

    Date:

    The Date field is quite useful when looking for documents published in a given year or within a certain timeframe. Though one can search for exact date, i.e. mm/dd/yyyy, this is not necessary. Sufficient is the year alone, e.g. yyyy, or even a year range such as >yyyy, or "<"yyyy. Formats available for searching the Date field are as follows:
    mm/dd/yyyy
    mm-dd-yyyy
    mm/yyyy
    yyyy
    >yyyy
    "<"yyyy


    Resource Type:

    This field enables one to restrict one's search to only a certain type of document. Examples of Resource Types are as follows: award, handbook, ...... As with all other searches, this field can be combined with any other field for more precise searching. The default operator in such cases is always "AND".

    Source:

    The Source field contains information about the origin of the document. For example, the minutes that are currently in the database all came originally from the paper Archives at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. Their source then was "paper converted to html". Information in this field will enable one to track down the original document, if ever desired.

    Addressee Name:

    For documents which were originally emails, this field preserves the information concerning the original recipient of the email.

    Status:

    This field will be helpful in separating or locating documents based on their status. Is the document one is looking for an active document within the originating group or organization? Is it a draft, a final version, or an archive file? These are some of the Status designations by which a document can be searched.

    Keyword Searching:

    Keyword searching is the most all-encompassing form of searching, as it searches the full-text of the document itself. This kind of search is good for topic searches, when one is looking for information about something, some issue, or even someone. As one is more apt to use multiple terms in this kind of search, it is important to keep in mind the way the search engine employs the Boolean operators and Truncation.

    Reminder: Phrase Searching cannot be employed within a keyword search. This is due to the way the text of the document is indexed; in this case, by single word only. Word order, then, is not maintained during the indexing of the text by the database.

    The following schema maps out the action of the search engine on a Keyword search on the terms, vision statement", based on the settings of our previously discussed control boxes, Boolean Operator and Phrase Search:

    ("Boolean Operator" = BO; "Phrase Search" = PS)

    BO PS finds documents with
     x"vision" AND "statement"
    xx"vision" OR "statement"
    x  "revisions" OR "statements"
        "revisions" AND "statements"


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