As you may already have discovered, advanced search is not just an upgraded basic search. Basic search has features which are lacking in advanced search and which may make it a preferred option depending on your search and on your display preferences.
Basic search is accessed from the search box (shown below) found on the top right hand corner of almost all the search pages.
Advanced search is accessed by clicking on the link below the basic search box (see above) and looks like this.
WHAT DO THEY HAVE IN COMMON?
When you enter more than one term into a search box, be it the basic search box or one of the advanced search boxes, the terms are searched separately, i.e. only one of the terms needs to be present in the record descriptions, although they may contain more than one or even all of the terms. This is a default OR search. To require that all terms be present the AND operator must be used between terms. For an exact match (phrase search) use quotation marks.
Boolean operators within a search box must be in uppercase: AND, OR, NOT. Complex search logic can be used in any search box, basic or advanced, as well as wild cards (* and ?).
Other than the Identifier field in Advanced Search, it does not matter whether upper or lower case, or both, is used.
Only one filter in each filter category can be selected.
Fifty (50) record descriptions per page are displayed. The bottom of each page, if there are more than 50, shows what range of record descriptions is being displayed.
When an individual record description is clicked the full display is the same regardless of whether basic or advanced search is used.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES?
•Cannot search specific fields – all searchable fields are searched
•Cannot limit search to a specific material type (e.g. textual records, graphic material [visual records], moving images) – all material types are searched
•Type-ahead feature shows possible matches, including those in the Names, Places and Subjects lists.as well as in the descriptions, with the option of selecting one of the matches by clicking on it. (Note: currently this does not always work for the Names, Places, and Subjects but it can be useful to see what comes up.)
•Can search by one or more pre-defined fields, e.g. Title, Name, Identifier, as well as all fields, i.e “Any field” which functions the same as a basic search (note: some searchable fields can only be searched in an “Any fields” search, e.g. the General notes field.)
•Can limit search – before it is executed – to a specific level of description, to a specific material type, and/or to descriptions with digital images attached (see Filters below).
•Filters only display after a search is executed, and provide a breakdown by name, with the number of search results each is linked to.
•Clicking on a filter automatically limits search results to those meeting that criterion. Clicking on a filter in another category automatically further limits the search results.
•Can limit to top-level descriptions regardless of level (everything that is not linked to a higher-level description such as fonds, series and even some items) as well as by specific level.
•Can filter by name of creator (top 10 only).
•Can set search filters before a search is executed as well as after a search but must click on Search button to redo search.
•Cannot limit a search to top-level descriptions as a category. Clicking on the box shows a drop down list of mostly fonds and some series descriptions.
•Filters are by type. A drop-down list of all possible options is displayed for each category. Clicking on an option may yield zero results.
•There is no post-search breakdown by for each category type.
•Search results can be limited to descriptions with digital objects attached.
•Subject, name and place are search fields rather than filters.
•The total number of results is displayed at the top of each display page, together with the search term(s) and the number of digital objects with an option to display only the digital objects, as shown in this example.
•No print icon on results page but can use browser print function.
•The search box(es) with search term(s) and logic display at top of the search results on each results page.
•The total number of search results only displays if there are more than 50 hits, i.e. more than one page. This displays at the bottom of the page.
•A print icon appears on the results page.
WHEN TO USE BASIC SEARCH AND WHEN TO USE ADVANCED SEARCH
I find the basic search useful when I am interested in a breakdown by description level to get a sense of the number of higher or lower level record descriptions and quickly view the results for each level. The same applies, to a certain extent to the people, organizations, subjects and places involved. However, since only 10 are displayed, if there are more than 10, those of interest may not display.
The type-ahead feature can also be useful in seeing what pops up in terms of possible search terms.
The results display shows me right away how many results there are and how many have digital objects attached. At the moment this means primarily images but textual records, sound recordings and video is also being added. If the number of images in the filter column (Media types) is less than the number of digital objects, clicking on the images filter will quickly bring them up.
I use advanced search for the following types of searches:
I am looking for something very specific and searching by field(s) will eliminate irrelevant results, e.g. a certain television episode such as the Webster episode on the archives. A basic search on WEBSTER AND ARCHIVES produces 1300 hits (the same number of results as an Any field search) whereas limiting webster to the Name field and archives to the Subject field yields one.
I am looking for only certain material types, e.g. sound recordings or moving images.
I want to limit my search to only higher level descriptions (usually the series level to access the pdf finding aid found in many series level descriptions) or to only item or file level descriptions.
I am searching by call/catalogue (aka Identifier) numbers and don’t want to be bothered to enclose them in quotation marks, especially if there are more than a few. I also only want the highest level description, not all the lower level descriptions which are produced when a basic search is executed, e.g. the latter yields over 3000 hits for a search on “gr-1372” while an Identifier search on GR-1372 yields only 1 record, the series level description with the finding aid.
Ultimately the search method choice is up to you and what works best for the kind of searches you are doing. For more information about basic and advanced searches see the Search Guide.