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VDOT Bulletin Quick Start Guide: Searching

A quick start guide to accessing the VDOT Bulletin using the VDOT Library's Digital Collections site.

General Search Advice

When searching the Bulletin for a particular topic, the most important thing to keep in mind is WHAT are you searching when you enter your search terms.

The VDOT Library Digital Collections site at present contains two collections (with more to be added eventually). The VDOT Bulletin as well as Historic VDOT Road and Bridge Specifications. Simply entering a term in the primary search box on the VDOT Library Digital Collections Home Page will return results from BOTH the VDOT Bulletin AND the Historic Road and Bridge Specifications. Bottom line - regardless of what you are searching for, you are going to want to limit your search to the VDOT Bulletin Collection only and probably even more than that (to particular date range or even individual issue).

For example, a search for the term "gravel roads" will return results from both publications see below:

bulletin search 1

Here you can see both publications included in the search results:

buletin search results list

If you've begun a search this way you can always subsequently limit the results by unchecking the undesired collections in the "Collections"  results facet box at the top left of the results page and clicking "Update" In this guide we will only demonstrate searching the VDOT Bulletin Collection:

bulletin search collections facet

Using Advanced Search

Using "Advanced Search" can be helpful in many cases but there are some important factors to keep in mind. There are also several features to be aware of that may affect your search experience negatively or even have no effect at all. To get to the advanced search function click the blue "Advanced Search" text directly below the search box on the main page.:

Advanced Search

The first thing to do when beginning an advanced search is to select the collection to be searched. To search the VDOT Bulletin, make sure all other boxes are unchecked and click the blue "Save" button below. (Note- you MUST click save before you continue otherwise all of the other options will remain locked):

advanced search collection select

The next option is to set the search term parameters. When Searching the VDOT Bulletin we recommend keeping the search on "All fields". Given limited metadata, searches on other fields within the Bulletin collection are not likely to return very helpful results. The one exception to this rule being the "Date" field which is described in further detail below:

advanced search terms

After selecting the field and entering the desired search term the next option is to select the "operators".

Advanced Search offers four search types (or operators):

  •  All of the words — searches for all of the words in any order. Using Boolean logic, this search is similar to using "AND". For instance, if you entered "President Theodore Roosevelt" in this search box, the search results would contain only those items containing all three terms. Do not include "AND" with your search terms. The Boolean operator "AND" is used automatically with the All of the words search and will be ignored if it is entered as a search term.
  •  Exact phrase — searches for all of the words in the exact order. This is similar to using quotation marks in other search engines. For instance, if you were searching for "President Theodore Roosevelt", search results would contain only those items that contain the phrase "President Theodore Roosevelt".
  •  Any of the words — searches for any of the words entered in the search box. Using Boolean logic, this search is similar to using "OR". For instance, if you entered "President Theodore Roosevelt" in this search box, the search results would contain all items containing any of the three terms, including results with only "President", only "Theodore", and only "Roosevelt". Do not include "OR" with your search terms. The Boolean operator "OR" is used automatically with the Any of the words search and will be ignored if it is entered as a search term.
  •  None of the words — use this option with any of the other search boxes to exclude a term. Using Boolean logic, this search is similar to using "NOT". For instance, if you entered "President Roosevelt" in the exact phrase search box and "Franklin" in this search box, the search results would contain all items containing "President Roosevelt" that do not contain the word "Franklin". Do not include "NOT" with your search terms. The Boolean operator "NOT" is used automatically with the None of the words search and will be ignored if it is entered as a search term.

Advanced Search also supports the use of a wildcard operator that enables you to search for approximate terms. Using an asterisk (*) at the end of a search term will search for results with none, or any number of any characters appended to the root search term. For example, test* will find results with the words "test," "tests," "tested" and so on:

 

search term parameters

Searching by date can be done regardless of whether or not  "Date" is selected as a field for the search term. In either case, the primary thing to keep in mind is to use the correct date format. which for the Bulletin in "yyyy-mm" (i.e. 1981-12). Dates can be searched "on", "after", "before" or "between".

date range advanced search

Search Results

Once you have selected a record from the search results list, you then have the option to "Filter" the results to focus in on just those exact pages within the selected issue where the results occur. The button should be below the "Search this record" box where your original search term appears (above the page list within the selected issue). Once clicked the page list will be narrowed to display only those pages where the terms appear:

search resultsundefined

To see search terms highlighted in context, click on the "Expand" button found at the top right of the currently displayed page:

expand button

This will open the page viewer tool where you will find the search terms highlighted. (*Note- at this level results will display as if an "AND" operator were applied and thus may show "partial" hits as well). More details on using the page viewer tool can be found on the Site Features tab of this guide.

search results in context

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