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Exploring the Digital Library Portal and Search

Nov 21, 2011

We realized that our new website is chock full of new things for users to explore and discover but that a guide might be helpful. We’ll be posting on the blog over the next couple of weeks some “tours” of the new pages and resources on the website to better help you find your way.

We are starting with an introduction to The Theodore Roosevelt Digital Library, which lives within the Research Portal, but it deserves its own blog post to show you how to navigate it. You can reach the Digital Library Portal through the Research menu but the Search function is available in portlets found through our site.

On the Digital Library (DL) Portal, you find a simple search box which will lead you into the Digital Library proper. Or, you can immediately switch over to an Advanced Search option which allows you to search by Creator, Recipient, Date, Collection, Resource Type and more. You also find a list of featured subject searches that we at the TR Center have chosen to highlight as a way to start exploring the Digital Library if you aren’t quite sure where to start. Click on any of those subject headings and find a doorway into that particular topic.

Digital Library Portal landing page

Scroll down the DL Portal and you find a list of all collections we currently have items for in the Digital Library. This list will be added to over the coming years and by clicking into any of those collections, you learn about the origins of the collection and the work that went into bringing it into the DL.

We also list our Digital Updates on the DL Portal. These are published monthly and update our users on how many items we have cataloged and how many of those items are currently publicly available. We also make announcements of new shipments from our partners in these updates so keep an eye on them!

DL Portal Landing page - bottom

Notice the boxes along the right-hand side of the page? These boxes can be found throughout our site and are called portlets. Portlets are placed on each web page to make sure you can always find your way to certain areas of the website. On the Digital Library portal, our portlets easily let you jump to our Digital Library Advanced Search, check out our Digital Update reports or look at Recently Added Digital Library Records.

DL Portal Landing portlets

Now, let’s see how this Digital Library works!

I’m going to use the Advanced Search page to run my searches so I can explain how it works. Simply click on Advanced Search link next to the basic search text box on the main screen of the portal and you’ll be taken to the Advanced Search page (Note: The Advanced Search page is also reached by the portlets throughout the site)

DL Advanced Search

You have four empty fields to put in search criteria -  these fields are programmed to automatically add an “and” to your search so it I put “Theodore Roosevelt” in one box and “Alice Roosevelt” in the next, the search knows to search for items that have both names attached to them.

You can also select the type of field in which you search. Say you only want to see cartoons in your results, select Resource Type in your first drop down box and your text box also becomes a drop down menu showing you what sorts of resource types by which you may limit your search. Another one to use is Period which gives you a selection of periods in TR’s life by which to search. This is a great way to browse the collections. For example, say you don’t really know where to start but you know you’re interested in his Dakota years, select that period and hit search to look at items from that time period of Roosevelt’s life.

TIP: Use quotations marks around names to make sure you search for “Alice Roosevelt” and not every item that has Alice or Roosevelt in it!

The easiest way to learn how a search functions is to run a couple of searches and see what you get – sometimes the results may surprise you!

Our next stop of the website tour will be a Digital Library Record and My Collections.

Posted by Krystal Thomas on Nov 21, 2011 in Digital Library  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)  |  Share this post

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