Brought to you by the Massachusetts Historical Society

"I have nothing to do here, but to take the Air, enquire for News, talk Politicks and write Letters."

John Adams to Abigail Adams, 30 June 1774

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Advance Searching in the Online Adams Catalog

Oh no, today is the last day of the grant! This is the last blog post in all likelihood. What ever will we do? I suppose I should carry on until the clock strikes 4:45.

In the Advanced Search, users have greater ability to find and narrow down results in the Online Adams Catalog.

The biggest feature I think in this search option is the keyword search, which covers nearly every aspect of every catalog entry. As Susan pointed out in May you can search fun words like "Manure" (6 results) but also more serious words like treaty (922 results) or independence (206 results) or peace (717 results) or negotiate (234 results). Searching via Keywords will return results from the text of the author field, the recipient field, the title field, and the notes field.

The Holding Institution search will let you know where original documents are held in other repositories. A pink slip means it is held physically by the MHS, as does a white slip. White slips means it is a letterbook copy. A yellow slip indicates that it is held outside of the MHS either by a research library such as at the Library of Congress, the British Library, or some other place, or held privately.

The Special Categories search option will search for things coded as poems, essays, speeches, etc. This is newly renamed from its former title of Document Type. The is primarily non-correspondence by genre or subject.

For both Holding Institution and Special Categories users are restricted to a dropdown of controlled terms/identifiers. You can use them in conjuction with any of the other search options, so if you want to search for instances where a title or first line of a JQA poem contains the word Moon, type in Moon in the keywords, and then select from special categories Poems, Hyms, Prayers, &c. - JQA. Click search. Voilia: two results. Or, if you wanted to see if JQA ever wrote a poems titled "Life in the Big City" or "Another Day Another Quarter" you could too, but you will be disappointed because he didn't.

Another option in the Advanced Search is the "View a Record by Its ID Number". Each record has a six-digit ID. The first number possible is 010001. The last number right now is into the 43----'s. (There were 42 "reels" of microfilm scanned, and the 43rd reel is for new slips, but they will fit in chronologically in any given search.) Please not that in each case the numbers do not read --9999 before starting over. So there is no 097596, for example. Only in rare cases to the numbers go higher than the --3000's. The numbers associate back to the original slips, to how they were scanned from a microfilm that was made. We're very fond of them. Searching by record number may be most useful if you've done a previous search and noted down the number. Of course you can always have fun with it and type in a random number and see what you get.

Access to the slip file will be from the Adams home page on the MHS website.

Thanks to Mary and Sara and Susan and Brenda and Bill and Jim for making this project so much fun. We hope you enjoy the access to this data and that it enriches your archival experience and research!

1 comment:

  1. informative post keep the good work like this awaiting for a new post keep sharing.

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