B to begin
# for database (separate multiple by commas; shorten to abbreviations if searching similar databases)
n for database file number
? searches [search terms]
brackets indicate subject headings
Dialog tells you how many records are available
?T for type view results
s1 = set 1 records
s = view titles and descriptors (free format, browse)
1 = print
|Set number||Number of records containing hits||Term(s) as entered in the SELECT COMMAND|
Always enter a space after command. Any word/term except stop words can be selected. Phrases must be selected using the (w) command unless the term is a descriptor or identifier.
Multiple terms can be selected when using logical commands. To create a set for each term in the command, use SELECT STEPS (change, recombine terms e.g. bilingualism in Canada, then bilingualism in Belgium).
|Open truncation||? retrieves all words beginning with, e.g. with comput? (computers, computer, etc.);
symbolises unlimited length with no intervening
|Controlled-length truncation||Retrieves all words beginning with a maximum number of letters following word stem
? [space] ? retrieves all words beginning with ? with maximum of one character following word stem
|Imbedded character||? for character replacement letter for letter to retrieve either spelling e.g. organisation, organization
If more than one letter, use OR e.g., favor OR favour
Viewing records: TYPE command
|s5 /||2 /||1-4|
|Set number||Format||Items inclusively; item numbers can be a single record, a range (e.g., 1-4, 6, 9 or ALL/all)|
If omitted, default becomes
|Item||Next record display|
|Format||Format set typed|
|Set||Last set created|
LOGOFF log off system
Enter one select command for each concept, combining synonyms and alternative terms with OR logic.Select the set numbers representing different concepts, combining them with AND logic.
|Concept blocks||Break down logically with Boolean searching|
|Pearl growing||"Gem" search for perfect record meeting search criteria|
|Successive fractions||Extremely broad search - breakdown into finer divisions with more limits|
|Known item matching||Situation known item, looking for specific item to verify existence|
Stacking Enter several commands in a single line of typing separated by semicolons. A line can contain up to 240 characters.
|AND concept||No concepts; limit|
|Use fewer terms||Use more terms or subject headings|
|Use proximity operators||Truncate left|
|Truncate right||Use broader terms|
|Qualify/limit||Remove qualifiers, limitations|
Search the basic index/suffice fields
Select commands searches the entire Basic Index unless the term is qualified by a suffix. Using a suffix is an option when searching the Basic Index. To qualify a term to a given field, enter a slash (/) followed by two letter field suffix. Use a comma to specify either field.
Selecting descriptor terms
Include spaces and punctuation if exact descriptor single word restricted with descriptor, retrieves word anywhere in descriptor term, use DE
Retrieve single word using DF / IF
Searching numeric indexes
|:||Low/high ends range, e.g. 1986:1991|
|>=||Equal to/greater than|
|<=||Equal to/less than|
Exact phrases anywhere,
Adjacent/hear other words,
Exact phrases anywhere,
Files not employing controlled vocabulary,
Phrases containing stop words, punctuation, hyphens and special characters
Phrases not in thesauri
Particularly new terms
Subjects marginally covered
Searching full-text files when using logical operators may be dangerously broad
Narrowing a search to decrease recall and increase proximity precision
Repeat proximity to connect series
Correct order – W, N, L, S, F
Use parentheses around connected terms to be processed first
Replace punctuation marks with a (W) operator.
To select from a phrase-indexed field, enter the exact bound phrase with all punctuation intact, if containing slash, apostrophe, or logical operator, enclose the phrase in quotation marks.
Precision versus Recall Search examples
|east and germany||3691||Two words appear in the same record|
|east(f)germany||3364||Two words appear in same Basic Index Field|
|east(w)germany||1852||Phrase appears in Basic Index|
|east(w)germany/ti||559||Phrase appears in title field|
|s east germany||2||Phrase appears as a Descriptor or Identifier|
Searching on terms containing punctuation
To select from a word-indexed field, replace each punctuation mark with a (w) operator.
To select from a phrase-indexed field, enter the exact bound phrase with all punctuation intact. If the phrase contains a slash, apostrophe, or logical operator, enclose the full phrase in quotation marks.
Expanding in the Basic Index: ?expand microcomputer
The EXPAND display pauses after every 12 lines. Use PAGE (or P) to see the next 12 lines. Up to 50 lines can be displayed.
Expanding to view the Online Thesaurus
To view the related terms, EXPAND the E number. Each related term is assigned a R reference number. An R-numbered list includes a code describing the relationship.
Expanding on terms containing punctuation
Do not use proximity operators or truncation.
The strings of characters entered after EXPAND is interpreted literally and simply inserted into the index where it fits alphabetically.
Selecting terms after expanding
To retrieve a single entry from an expand list, Select its E/R number. Be sure to SELECT before entering EXPAND. Each EXPAND command creates a new list and erases the previous one.
Selecting multiple terms
Retrieve multiple entries from same EXPAND list synonymously related, use OR logic. Retrieve sequential entries, use colons.
Expanding in additional indexes
Use EXPAND to check entry form for fields containing names.
For author’s name, enter surname and first initial.
For company’s name, enter first part then try variation with abbreviations, punctuation.
For journal name, start by EXPANDING on first word. Notice if database uses abbreviations. If needed, enter a different EXPAND.
Available to facilitate broad restrictions to retrieval. Entered as suffixes in a SELECT command. Limits are highly database specific.
Determine what limits are available – read Bluesheets, enter command HELP LIMIT n (with n being file number)
Enter suffixes in SELECT commands after /
Use /ENG more than LA=English. Use LA= field for other languages. EXPAND to verify entry form.
Current= current year plus the previous year
Expand fields if you’re not sure what a field has available.
Restrict publication date, SELECT from appropriate Additional Index. In databases with PY= field, enter years without prefix as a LIMIT suffix.