[bksvol-discuss] Getting The Most From the New Search System

  • From: "Monica Willyard" <rhyami@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <bksvol-discuss@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 16 Jan 2010 22:18:20 -0500

Hi everybody. I know several of you are having trouble with the new
Bookshare search system. Maybe this will help to make things clearer. I know
it will take some getting used to. I think you'll find some hidden treasure
once you know how to make the system work for you. They have given us more
power, and they haven't taken anything away. It has just changed a bit. Once
you learn how it works, I think you'll be hooked.


Bookshare has two types of search now. They're intended to work in different
ways. One type of search, the one that works in the search box at the top of
most of the Bookshare pages, is a keyword or full text search. Bookshare
calls it Quick Search because it's so easy to use. It searches for the words
you type into that box, searching through the title, author, ISBN, and the
full text of the books. Think of this as searching through an entire library
archive for something you want. 


If multiple words are entered, they are treated as a phrase. Entering more
words will result in more exclusive results. So if you search for the word
"king", Bookshare  will return matches for "Alan King", "Stephen King", "The
King and I", etc. Searching for Stephen king will only return results where
the words Stephen King are part of the author's name, or where the words
Stephen king appear somewhere in the text. With this search, you might find
a sentence that says, "Stephen wouldn't rest until he became king." Not what
you wanted? For even better control, search for "Stephen King" using
quotation marks to get an exact match. (see below.) Author searches will be
matched as "First name Last name". Partial word matches are not done, so
"king" will not match "kingfisher". 


If the Bookshare search detects that the search term is a number, it will
assume it's an ISBN and try to match on that. This is an easy way to find
out if a book you're viewing on Amazon is in the Bookshare collection.


If you want to search for an exact phrase, use quotation marks around your
search phrase. Searching for "Harry Potter" will only find books where Harry
Potter's name appears. It won't show things like Harold Potter, Harry B.
Potter, or Harry Potts. 


If you don't know how to spell a word you want to search for, try using an
asterisk, (also known as a star),  as a wild card. You can use the "*"
wildcard as many times as you like. Typing *ing will match words like king,
string,  ping, etc. If you don't know how to spell Espresso, you could type
*presso to find it. You would find any books that mention Espresso in the
title, author, or full text of books.


Play with this for awhile to see how the search box behaves when you use
quotes and star wild cards. You can't break anything, and it's safe to

If you put the title of a book in quotes, like "No Place To Hide" you should
see that book listed in one of the top five search results. If you don't see
that title on the first page of search results, it probably isn't in the
Bookshare collection. However, if you want to search for a specific title or
author, you may prefer the second type of search.


The advanced search, found at http://www.bookshare.org/search lets you
target your search better. You can search specifically for titles, authors,
ISBNs, or the full text of the book. You can narrow your search by book
quality, category, or other criteria. If you bookmark this URL, you can use
it to quickly check to see if a book is in the collection.


Finally, you may have noticed that the site looks a little different when
you view search results or browse books. This is because Bookshare lets us
see the title, author, synopsis, and an excerpt showing the context of your
search words in context. The download links are below that. It means faster
browsing for us since we don't have to arrow past the download buttons, read
the synopsis, and arrow back to download the book. It's a small yet really
helpful change. I really like it.
If you have any questions, please ask. I'll do my best to help you. If I
don't know the answer, we'll figure it out together. This is a new feature,
and we're all learning to use it. There may be bugs to be fixed. If so,
Bookshare support needs to know. If you need help understanding how the new
search works, let's work it out together. We can do this.
Monica Willyard
"The best way to predict the future is to create it." -- Peter Drucker

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