Thursday, November 21, 2013

Catalog Search Tips: Advanced Search Basics

When you have a very specific information need, finding inadequate search results can be frustrating to say the least. Imagine you want to find mystery fiction audiobooks, but you really only want the books on playaway, not CDs or cassette tapes. If you search for "mystery fiction" and limit the results to sound recordings, you'll get EVERYTHING and have to pick through all the results for playaways. If you work in the opposite direction and search for "playaways" similar troubles arise. Today we'll show you an awesome, useful search function: Advanced Search!

It's tucked away, but with a simple click, you can find it. On the top navigation bar of the CAFE catalog, click "Search." You'll get a dropdown menu with many options, the fifth being "Advanced."
The Advanced Search option basically does a Boolean search without you having to remember to use AND, OR, or NOT. Click on "Advanced" to get the appropriate screen.
We're going to use the example we discussed above to illustrate how to use the Advanced Search function. Our search is just a template, really; you can plug in your own keywords once you understand the basics.

1. Plug "Mystery fiction" into the first search field. Plug "playaway" into the second search field. Don't worry about changing "Any Field" to one of the presented options; you'll probably get more results searching in "Any Field."

2. Reap the rewards! We came up with 447 results for mystery fiction playaways, which can be limited by audience as discussed in our previous tutorial. Instead of sifting through the 6,931 mystery fiction general audiobooks to find playaways, you get what you're really looking for, faster.

Play around with it and see how helpful it can be. Use the supplemental "Limit by:" dropdown box for added customization. For instance, you could enter "climate change" in the first field and then limit by "DVD" to find all the global warming movies available at the libraries in our system. The possibilities are exciting, and you'll be searching like a librarian in no time!

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