The Key to Searching: Keyword Searching

For the 2nd installment of our 3-part blog series on searching our database, we turn to Jessica Meulendyk, Museum Software Specialist/PastPerfect-Online Coordinator for some expert advice.

Keyword Searches are standard on every PastPerfect-Online site, and for most organizations, the Keyword Search page is the main starting point.  While keyword searching is appealing to most online visitors, knowing more about how it works can help visitors find their results easily.

What data is searched when you do a Keyword Search?
A keyword search will search all fields that are selected for online and are mapped to an advanced search category.  The museum sets which fields are restricted and which are searchable.

JMM specific: The JMM allows researchers to search through the descriptions, notes, condition, collection names, object names, people, subjects and search term fields. Information related to the donors, values, and other potentially sensitive data are not accessible on-line.

Are searches case sensitive?
Searches are not case sensitive.  Searching for “Smith” or “smith” will produce the same results.

Can I search for a specific string of text?
Yes.  By using quotes around the phrase (like “Memorial Day Parade”), the search results will only include records with that particular phrase in one of its fields.

Is it possible to search for “X or Y”?
Yes, you can use the operator “OR” (like football OR baseball) to widen your search.  A search using “OR” will produce records that include either keyword.

Does the keyword search allow wildcards?
Yes, you can use an asterisk (*) at the end of a keyword as a wildcard.  For example, searching for shoe* will produce results including the terms shoe, shoes, shoehorn, shoelace, shoestring, etc.

Can I narrow my search for objects only?

Yes, you can narrow your search for objects only, or objects and photos, or only records that have images attached. To the right of the search box is a small menu. Click on the radial dial to indicate if you want to search all of the records, or just those that have images attached. You can further refine your search by clicking the box next to the specific content you wish to search.

Where can I find these tips when I am searching online?

Users can click the “Help” button on the Keyword Search page.

Can I use a date as a search term?

You can use a date as a search term, but you might end up with a “false negative” if the cataloger didn’t add this information.


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