If you've used American Memory much in the past few weeks, you've noticed
that some of the search pages have been upgraded. If you haven't, let this
message serve as a "heads-up."
For example, the main American Memory search page
<http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/mdbquery.html> now give the following options
via pull-down menus:
-- Collections option:
search all collections OR search for itmes from a single format.
All collections is the default, individual formats are selected
from a pull-down menu.
-- Boolean options now available. The default is the same as before:
"match any of the words" (ranked by relevance, in groups, as before).
The other pull-down menu choices are: "match the exact phrase"
and "match all of the words"
-- Word stem options.
"Include word variants, e.g. plurals" is the default.
The other (pull down menu) option is "match words exactly"
-- Limits output to 500 by default, however this can be easily changed
to a larger or smaller number.
Many of the old rules still apply. For example, the Walt Whitman notebooks
are not transcribed and are, therefore, not searchable with this tool.
Also, multi-format collections (e.g. Evolution of the Conservation
Movement; American Variety Stage)--have other special considerations. The
folks making the index had to choose one format per collection for the
purpose of this tool. These two collections, for example, have photos,
sound files, motion pictures, but are indexed with the document
collections. For the exceptions, visit the collections by format pages.
These are linked in the light purple section of the American Memory home
page (and other pages) under the word "BROWSE." Just click on the format:
Photos & Prints, Documents, Motion Pictures, Maps, or Sound Recordings to
see the list of what collections will be searched when you limit by a
Everything in the "What American Memory resources are included in this
search?" page <http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/mdbnote.html> still applies.
Also, some of the individual collections now offer searching in specific
fields. For example see the search page of the collection "California As I
Saw It: First-Person Narratives of California's Early Years, 1849-1900"
Another example: the American Life Histories collection doesn't have
cataloging available for the individual items, so its search tool searches
the full text. This is noted on the collection's upgraded search page
<http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/wpaquery.html>. Some of the options discussed
earlier are availalbe here too.
In the George Washington Papers
<http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/gwhtml/gwhome.html>, you may now sort the
results set by date after you've done your search -- assuming you limited
your results set to fewer than 500 hits. This is because of the
"normalized" dates in this collection.
These upgrades have been the result of a team exploring these things for a
while now. Susan Veccia has been working closely with this group. They're
not done yet, so watch for more updates.
Elizabeth L. Brown, M.L.S.
National Digital Library Program, LIBN/NDL/VC(1330)
Library of Congress, Washington, DC 20540-1300
[log in to unmask] telephone: 202/707-2235
Library of Congress American Memory Home Page: