Playing in the garden

I love it when customers ask questions.  Sometimes it’s about the content of (i.e., resources within) the database.  Other times, it’s about how to find the content.

Alyssa, one of our Educational Outreach Coordinators, came back from a conference the other day sharing the observation of a user: when doing a SUBJECT search for “GARDEN”, no resources show up in the search results.  But there must be resources about gardens…

In this case, doing the same search with the modification of adding an “S” to make “GARDENS” is the solution and will return many search results.

So, here’s my guide to the different search functions:

When AUTHOR = garden: will bring up resources for folks like Nancy Garden AND Mark Newgarden.

When TITLE = garden: will bring up resources for books like A Gardener’s Alphabet.  It ALSO brings up Thematic Booklists with titles like “Gardening with Children,” Book Awards with titles like “Garden State Children’s Book Award,” and a couple of Valuable Links that both have garden in their name/title.

When SUBJECT = garden: This function is searching within the authorized subject headings of the books we have in our database.  Apparently, “garden” is not an authorized heading, but “gardenS” plural is.  See the difference in search results: SUBJECT = gardenS

When ALL FIELDS = garden: brings up all of the above, and–for other search terms–potentially more, since the database is also searching in the “Narrator” and “Created by” fields.

In a nutshell, three of our four searches will take a partial word and find related resources, but with a subject search, the term needs to be an exact match.  So, if you’re not getting as many results as you think you should, try a different search term.  Sometimes adding an “S” makes all the difference!

photo of blog article's author Posted by Carin Bringelson, MLS, Information Manager


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