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OPAC HELP

Welcome to the Help pages. These pages are designed to assist you in navigating and searching the catalog collection.

The Search page provides straightforward and easy to use search features. The Expert page, as the name implies, provides more robust and powerful searching capabilities. The Briefcase page is a temporary holding location for records you have found and moved there during your searches. Records in the Briefcase may also be downloaded in the MAchine Readable Catalog format known as "MARC." MARC records can be loaded into other systems.

Here is a quick index to the important Help Topics:

Searching by Keyword

Almost all fields within the records are indexed in the Keyword index. This makes the Keyword search very powerful.

To search by keyword:

    1. Click on the Search tab. By default the Keyword index is displayed in the pop-up menu.
    2. Simply enter the full word that you are looking for, such as "cat".
    3. Select the "Search button to the left of the text entry area.
    4. If there are records in the collection with the word "cat" they will be displayed in a Find List Page. If no records are found, the page will be blank and you can search again.

It doesn't matter if the letters are in upper or lower case. Records with the word "CAT" and "cat" will both be found even if you enter the characters "CaT".

Right-hand Truncation Searching

The Keyword search above was looking for an exact match for the word "cat." It would not have found records with the word "cats" or "cating." To find all records with word that begin-in the letters "cat" simply enter a "?" at the end of the words like this "cat?". That will force a right-hand truncation search and the program will find all records that have words that start with "cat".

Boolean Searching

Sometimes truncation searching can find too many wrong records. The search above for "cat?" could also find records with the words "catapult" and "catastrophe." An alternative method is to use Boolean Searching with the reserved words of "and", "or" and "not". Finding all records with the the words "cat" or "cats" can be done with this search "cat or cats". To find all records with the words cats and dogs simply enter "cats and dogs". If you enter two words while searching in the Keyword index, the system will assume you want to 'and' them together in a Boolean expression. The words "Apple Computer" will find all records that contain the word "Apple" and the word "Computer." Note, this might also find records about how a computer is used to automate Apple orchards!

Boolean searching when using the Keyword index can be tricky. When using keyword searching, it is sometimes helpful to remember that the "OR" Boolean operator is used to expand a search, where the "AND" is used to narrow a search down. "Not" is used to exclude specific terms from the results.

Searching by Title, Author, or Subject

Searching by Keyword is very powerful but can result in an unwanted number of 'bad hits'. If you specifically know what you are looking for, sometimes searching by Title, Author or Subject is a wiser choice. To Search by Title, Author, or Subject

  1. Click on the Search Tab
  2. Select the index Pop-up menu and choose Title, Author or Subject.
  3. Enter the search term like "Twain, Mark"
  4. Select the Search Button.

Unlike keyword searching there are no "Boolean" operators when searching by Title, Author or Subject. However, right-hand truncation is automatically turned on. This means that you do not have to enter the full search term to get good results The search term "Twain, M" will probably get the same results as "Twain, Mark". Punctuation is also ignored, so "Twain Mark" will also work when searching the author index.

If you are looking for a specific known title, simply search by the Title index and type the first few words of the title. If you are searching for an author, select the author index and enter at least the author's last name and perhaps a few letters of his or her first name.

Warning about Subject searching. Unless you know the subject authority list, it is difficult to do subject searching. We recommend keyword searching instead, since all the words in the subject index are also in the keyword index.

Expert Searching

Expert Searching provides a way to combine search terms across multiple index fields. You could use Expert searching to find all records with the keyword "river" by the author "Twain, Mark". To perform Expert searching:

Click on the Expert Tab.

Select the Index name in the first pop-up menu and enter your first term, like "river".

Select the index name in the second pop-up menu and enter your second term, like "Twain, Mark"

Click on the Expert button at the bottom of the page to start your search. Note that there are Boolean operator 'radio buttons' between each of your search terms. You may use these to expand or restrict your search. By default they are set to "and". Changing them to "or" will expand your search and using "not" will exclude certain records.

When using the Keyword index you can also use Boolean and truncation expressions within the search term like "river or rivers" or "river?". Automatic right hand truncation is done for you in all other fields like author, title and subject.

Viewing Search Results

After performing a search, the system will display all records found in a list. The search logical will be displayed along with the number of items found and the number of items being viewed on that specific page. Each record is represented by an icon, the full title, the shelf location and, if appropriate, the number of items in the collection and number actually on the shelf. If no records are found, a blank list will appear and you can click the "Search Again" link.

If you find more record then can fit on a single page, there will be a Next link at the bottom of the page. These Next and Previous links allow you to scroll or page through your find set.

In many cases, the find list page is all you need to solve your requirements. At other times it might be necessary to read the entire catalog record. To display the record simply click on the title, which should be underlined. The Catalog Record Display page will appear.

Record Display

The title of the record is displayed near the top of the page in bold. The rest of the record is displayed in two columns. The column on the left names each field and the column on the right contains the data for the field. If appropriate, a line will appear at the bottom of the page for each physical copy of the material. The copy line will display the item number, status and physical location information.

Next and Previous links on the top left side of the page allow you to page through the find set, record by record, without returning to the list window. You can return to the list with the "Return to List" link.

Moving Records to the Briefcase

Adding a copy of the record to your briefcase can be done by clicking on the "Add to Briefcase" link. This is done to build a personal collection of records for later use, or for downloading into a local system.

Downloading records from the Briefcase

To download records from the Briefcase page:

    1. Make sure you have added at lest one record to the briefcase.
    2. Click on the Briefcase Tab.
    3. Click on the "Download" link.
    4. View the MARC display which comes up in an unformatted window.
    5. Select the Save-As command in the File menu.
    6. Name and save the contents of the window into a local file.
    7. Select the "Back" button in your Web Browser to return to the Briefcase page.
    8. Clear the Briefcase by using the "Empty Briefcase" link.

When you are done, simply click on any tab at the top of the page to return to the Welcome, Search, Expert or Briefcase pages.