How to search the catalogue

Making a quick search

The simplest way to search the catalogue is to enter a search term into the box at the top right of the screen and click the search button next to it.

You may wish to combine search terms in your simple searches using the Boolean “and, or, not” searching options:

+ represents Boolean And, meaning the search result must include this word
- represents Boolean Not, meaning the search result must exclude this word
| represents Boolean Or, meaning the search result may include this word

Place one of these symbols before a word or phrase to apply it. If no symbols are used, Boolean “And” is assumed.

For example:

Bangor –University
searches all configured fields for the word “Bangor” and excludes any records with the word “University” from the search results.

Typing a field name followed by a colon then a search term, means only that particular field will be searched. If no field names are specified, all configured fields are searched.

For example:

Searches for the word ‘Bangor in the Title field only, whereas:

Searches all configured fields for the word 'Railway'.

It is important to enter search words/phrases carefully to ensure you find the intended results.

For example:

Title:Railway Station
Searches for records which have the word ‘Railway’ in the Title field and the word 'Station' in ANY configured field.

Use (double) quotes around a search term to return exact matching phrases.

For example:

"Railway Station"
Searches all configured fields only for the exact phrase 'Railway Station' i.e. the two words together with a space between, in the specified order.

For example:

Railway Station
searches all configured fields for the words 'Railway' and 'Station' anywhere i.e. not necessarily next to each other or in the specified order.

Advanced Search

If you think a quick search is likely to turn up too many results, click ‘Search the catalogue’ above. This will give you the option of searching on particular fields within the database, as well an “any text” word search. Some of the boxes on the Advanced Search page have a link entitled “Refine search criteria”. Clicking this will give you extra searching options. Unlike quick searches, advanced searches do not require you to enter command syntax such as the Boolean symbols or to specify field names.

By default, the Boolean “And” is assumed, for example if you enter Train in the Title field and Station in the Description field, only records containing both 'Train' and 'Station' (in the respective fields) will be found, records containing just one of these words will not be shown in the search results.

Broadening your search

Searching will only find the exact words used in the catalogue, so if you haven’t found what you wanted it’s often best to try several related terms. So, if you are searching for material relating to “education”, try related words like ‘school’, ‘schools’

You can also search for part of a word by using a wildcard (*); so ‘Ship*’ will bring up ‘Ship’, ‘Shipping’, ‘Ships’, and any other word beginning ‘Ship-’.

Please note that our catalogues are only available in one language. Some of them are in Welsh (where the language of the original records is in Welsh), but the majority are in English.

Search results

The results of your search will be displayed in a table. If required, you can reorder the list of results according to the field of your choice by clicking on the column heading.

Click on a record in the results hit list to see a more detailed description. A hierarchical chart above it will show the position of the record in its context within the collection. To return to the search results overview, use the ‘back’ button on your browser.

If you would like to see the record in its hierarchical context (i.e. how it relates to other records in the collection), click on ‘Reference no’.

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