SONIC employs Cuadra STAR software and represents a variety of cataloging conventions. Users should keep in mind that this database is the cumulative result of several special arrearage-reduction projects, with each project employing slightly different standards for cataloging. Mandated by Congress to assume bibliographic control over its collections, the Library stretched its limited resources to cover as many recordings as possible, choosing quantity over quality. These projects were designed to substantially increase the number of recordings represented in the database and did not necessarily follow all AACR2, MARC, and LC headings authority conventions. Because of this, users may note some inconsistencies in their search results obtained. Users are encouraged to execute multiple searches employing a variety of search strategies if satisfactory results are not obtained on the first search.
KINDS OF SEARCHES
Various search screens are provided to assist users in locating recordings. The Simple Search screens allow you to search two specific words or phrases at a time. Select either a Name, Title, or Subject search. You may search for Name, Title, or Subject by typing that heading in the box or by selecting a heading from the browse index. Keyword searching, the default setting, is available for Name, Title, and Subject. A keyword search finds records using keywords located anywhere in a particular bibliographic record. For example, a keyword search on the word "blues" would find bibliographic records for all the recordings whose bibliographic records contain the word blues anywhere in the record. The word or phrase may then be further refined by selecting a qualifier from the list supplied in the "drop-down box" on the right-hand side of the screen. If you select a qualifier other than "Any/All", it must correspond to your search term. Otherwise, your search will fail.
You may also perform "Exact Match" searches for Titles and Subject/Form/Genre headings by clicking in the box provided. Exact Match (or Left-match) means that the word or phrase must appear in the bibliographic record EXACTLY as you type it in the blank. Names are not searchable by exact match because a variety of data entry conventions have been employed, resulting in names being entered in both direct order (ex. Jane Smith) and indirect order (Smith Jane). Please omit commas in Name searches and keep in mind that not all SONIC headings conform to LC Authorities.
Browsing is not the same as searching. The browse index provides only a list of terms -- not bibliographic records. The browse index shows the user what headings have been used in the database. The user must select a term, or terms, to paste into his/her search.
Many screens offer you the ability to browse through a list of headings as found in the SONIC database. Simply click on the desired browse button and that will take you to an alphabetical listing for the type of heading specified. You may jump to any particular point in the browse alphabet by typing a letter or word in the box provided on the browse screen and then clicking on "Browse", or by using the Windows scroll bar to navigate up or down. NOTE: Headings appear in the Browse Index alphabetized by initial articles due to the functionality of the software. Once you have located a heading you wish to add to your search, click the radio button to the left of the term, then scroll up or down to find the PASTE button. Clicking on the paste button will return you to your search screen and paste in the heading you have selected.
The Name Browse Index is not a complete listing of names found in the SONIC database. Varying data entry conventions over multiple cataloging projects have resulted in some names only being entered (in direct order) in notes fields, as opposed to headings fields. Those names appearing only in a note field will not appear in the index but can be retrieved in a keyword search.
SPECIAL NOTE ON SEARCHING BY NAME HEADING
The remaining search screens are designed to accommodate multiple terms or phrases as either "Exact Match" searches or Keyword searches, except for names which are always keyword searches, as noted above. All name searches in this database default to "Keyword within three words" searches. In other words, you may input John Smith or Smith John and bibliographic records containing the words "John" and "Smith", in either order, within three adjacent words, will be retrieved. For example, the above search will retrieve "John Smith", "John R. Smith", "Smith John R.", etc. There may be occasions where only a last name is present in the bibliographic record, in which case, supplying a first name in the search will block the record from being retrieved. If you do not retrieve any hits for a name using both first and last names, try another search with just last name.
Keywords may be combined on the Keyword Anywhere Search Screen using Boolean operators (and, or, not) for more powerful searching. All other screens employ the AND operator by default.
mulligan AND live
Retrieves data for live recordings of gerry mulligan (and any other mulligan) where both words are present in the bibliographic
record reggae OR ska
Retrieves data for recordings of either reggae or ska music
ellington NOT newport
Retrieves data for all Ellington-related recordings (Ellington as performer, composer, etc.) not recorded at the Newport Festival
SPECIAL SEARCH SCREENS
Because of the frequency of certain specific kinds of searches, special screens have been designed for ease of searching the following: radio broadcasts; news broadcasts; commercial 78 rpm and 45 rpm discs and cassettes; archival (unpublished) collections; music only recordings; and non-music only recordings.
Please remember to omit all punctuation when entering search terms. It is highly recommended that searches be conducted in a variety of ways. If an initial search yields few, or unexpected results, try a new search with a different strategy. If you begin with Exact Match, try a subsequent keyword search.
Automatic truncation is in effect for searching. Terms longer than 5 letters will be truncated after the fifth letter. For example, the word recording will be searched as "recor" and will retrieve every word beginning with those letters, such as record, records, recording, recordings, etc.
Search terms will appear highlighted in the bibliographic records retrieved.
Further assistance is available by clicking on the HELP button on each search screen.
HOME | Introduction
| Where to Search
| How to Search SONIC | Contents
Recorded Sound Research Center - Library of Congress Home Page
Library of Congress