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NLS: That All May Read

Online Catalog.

Overview of Text-Only Interface.

The text-only search interface:

This overview gives a brief description of the three text-only search pages. There are specific search tips and examples.

You search the database after completing a form on your computer. This initializes a "session". A session remains active so long as you are requesting a response from the catalog. The Library limits how long a session can be inactive, the time from its last response. When that time limit is exceeded, the session expires. It "times out". If you submit another request after the session times out, the response will be a message that the session has expired. A link labeled "reinitialize" is included and will return you to the form in a fresh session. Avoiding a time out.

The link, "search the catalog", at the top of every NLS page takes you to Quick Search, one of the three text-only interface search pages. Each of the text-only search pages contains a link to the other pages, plus a link to the Voyager interface to the online catalog.

Single Term Search Page.

The most basic, the single term search form has:

For example, entering fish? would retrieve records with the following words.

Truncation works on the Quick Search and multiple term search forms as well.

Quick Search Form.

The Quick Search form has edit boxes for entering:

  1. names.
  2. titles.
  3. keywords, i.e., a word or phrase anywhere in the record.

Plus:

  1. A location list box for limiting results to frequently requested agencies.
  2. a format list box to limit results to specified formats.

Multiple Term Search Form.

Need more flexibility than is offered by the three Quick Search edit boxes? Need to exclude records from your search?

Use the multiple term search page. It enables setting three search parameters using:

Date of publication, material type, and location are on the second and third index list boxes only.

Use the index list boxes when a keyword search could retrieve too many records.

For example, if you were searching for books on penguins, restricting the search term to just the subject index would prevent you from retrieving the thousands of books with Penguin in the publisher field.

Preceding the three edit boxes are radio buttons for selecting the type of record display.

  1. Brief display is the default choice. It includes book number, author, title, publisher and Web-Braille links, if any.
  2. Full record display includes the entire record including the annotation.
  3. Tagged display is the full record with the numeric field names used in the MARC record format, a record format useful to librarians.

Search Tips and Examples.

General Tips.

Capitalization.

Searching is case insensitive, that is, capital letters are not needed.

Punctuation.

Do not put multiple words inside quotation marks. Use a space in place of punctuation. Periods, commas, semi-colons and other grammatical punctuation used in names, titles, and subjects are not needed. Omit the comma following the last name, when natural name order is reversed. Omit the period following an initial in a proper name.

Diacritics.

Enter foreign names and words that properly use diacritcal marks with the underlying letter. For instance, retrieve the author, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry by entering saint exupery. Replace the hyphen in the name with a space. Use the letter e in place of an e with acute accent.

Completeness.

You do not need to know or use the complete name or title. Use as much of the term as you know. The search engine will look for the term, whether one word or more, anywhere in the part of the record you specify. Pick the word or phrase that is most distinctive.

Order of results.

In general, the order of results places first all records without an author (also called "title main entry"), followed by titles with an author.

Author or narrator searches.

Quick Search.

Enter name, last name first, in the author edit box.

Multiple term search.

Enter author's (or narrator's) name, last name first in the first edit box and select author from the index.

Examples.

michener james

wodehouse p g

Some authors are entered under initials when that is how they are usually known; note that the period following an initial is omitted, just as is the comma when name order is last name first.

askey bob

Also works for narrators.

askey

Use just the last name if you are unsure of the first name.

national library service

You can search for names of organizations when they are responsible for creating, as opposed to publishing, the book's content.

Title searches.

Quick Search.

Enter a term or phrase from the title in the title edit box.

Multiple term.

Enter a term or phrase from the title in any edit box and select title from the index list box.

Examples.

war of the worlds

lord of the rings

Use title searches to retrieve series titles.

Book number searches.

Quick Search.

Enter a book number in the keyword edit box.

Multiple term search.

Enter a book number in the first edit box and keep the default, "keyword" index setting.

Examples.

rc 12345

For NLS book numbers that have two-letter prefixes, leave a space between the letters and numbers.

br 01234

For NLS book numbers, add leading zeroes if the number is less than five digits.

bra12345

For NLS book numbers that have three-letter prefixes, do not leave a space between the letters and numbers.

Inprocess Title searches.

Quick Search.

Enter inprocess as one word in the keyword edit box.

Multiple term search.

Enter inprocess as one word in the first edit box, and keep the default index setting, "keyword".

Subject searches.

Quick Search

Enter a subject word or phrase in the keyword edit box.

Multiple term search

Enter a subject word or phrase in the first blank edit box. If you are sure of the subject heading, choose subject in the index list box for that search term. If you are unsure of the exact subject heading used in the catalog, the default keyword index will search the annotation and notes as well.

Examples.

civil war

mystery fiction

penguin?

You can use the question mark truncation symbol to search for both singular and plural forms of a word.

Web-Braille searches.

Quick Search

Enter the phrase web braille in the keyword edit box.

Multiple term search

Enter the phrase web braille in the first edit box and use the default index, "keyword".

Web-Braille and subject searches.

Use the multiple term search screen.

To restrict searches to just NLS.

Quick Search.

Enter your primary search term or terms in the edit boxes. Select "NLS only" from the location list box.

Multiple term search.

Enter your primary search term in the first, or in the first and second edit boxes. Enter NLS in the next edit box and select "holding agency" from the index list box.

To restrict searches to braille, or sound recordings.

Quick Search.

Enter your primary search terms in the edit boxes. Select "sound recording" or "braille" from the material type list box.

Multiple term search.

Enter your primary search terms in the first, or in the first and second edit boxes. Enter sound or braille in the next edit box, depending on what you want, and select "material type" from the index list box.

To restrict results to just cassettes.

Quick Search.

It is not possible to restrict results to cassetts using the Quick Search page.

Multiple term search.

Enter your primary search terms in the first, or in the first and second edit boxes. Type cassett? (cassett and a question mark) in the next edit box and use the default index, "keyword".

To exclude fiction from searches.

Quick Search.

It is not possible to restrict results to cassetts using the Quick Search page.

Multiple term search form.

Enter your primary search term, e.g. subject, in the first edit box. Select a specific index from the list box, if you want. Check the "Not" radio button. Enter fiction in the second edit box, and select "subject" from the index list box.

Example.

Find books on the civil war that are not fiction.

Enter civil war in the first edit box. Select "subject" from the list box. Check the "Not" radio button and go to the second edit box. Enter fiction. Select "subject" from the index list box, and click the submit button or hit the enter key.

Exclude juvenile works from searches.

Use the multiple term search form.

Enter your primary search term in the first edit box. Select an index from the list box. Check the "Not" radio button. Enter juvenile in the second edit box. Select "subject" from the index list box, and press enter or click the "Search" button.

Examples.

Find books about penguins that are not for children.

Enter penguin? in the first edit box. Select "subject" from the index list box. Check the "Not" radio button. Enter juvenile in the second edit box. Select "subject" from the index list box, and press enter or click the "Search" button.

Find books on the civil war that are not fiction and not juvenile.

In the first edit box, enter civil war. From the first index list box, select "subject". In the first set of radio buttons, check "Not". In the second edit box, enter fiction. From the second index list box, select "subject". In the second set of radio buttons, check "Not". In the third edit box, enter juvenile. From the third index list box, select "subject" Press enter or click the "Search" button.

To restrict searches to just a single year of production

Quick Search.

It is not possible to restrict results to cassetts using the Quick Search page.

Multiple term search.

Enter your primary search terms in the first, or in the first and second edit boxes. Enter the the four-digit year in the next edit box. Select "year of publication" from the index list box.

Example.

Find books on politics produced in 2003.

Enter politics in the first edit box. Select "subject" from the index list box. Enter 2003 in the next edit box. Select "Date of publication" from the index list box and press enter or click the "Search" button.

Other Combinations.

Using the multiple term search form, you can combine any three of the elements above.

Example.

Find books on politics produced in 2003 in braille.

Enter politics in the first edit box. Select "subject" from the index list box. Enter 2003 in the second edit box. Select "Date of Production" from the second index list box. Enter braille in the third edit box. Select "Material Type" from the third index list box, and press enter or click the "Search" button.

Example

Find books about penguins that are not fiction and are on cassette.

Enter penguin? in the first edit box. Select "subject" from the first index list box. Enter cassett? in the second edit box. Leave the default index setting of "keyword anywhere" in the second index list box. Change the radio button that follows to "and not". Enter fiction in the third edit box. Select "subject" from the third index list box and press enter or click the "Search" button.

Timing Out

The timer for a session resets each time you ask for something. Asking for something is the result of using a link that requests more information, that is, the next set of results, the previous set, or more detail from a brief display. If you want to move forward or backward through pages that you have already seen, do not use the "forward" or "back" button on the browser. Use the links on the page you are viewing.

As of this writing (July 18, 2003), the text-only search forms are operating with a time-out limit of 20 minutes.

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Posted on 2013-06-28