It was great working on the series of weird and wonderful Olympic Games blog posts. If you would like a go at searching for titles in SUNCAT here are a few different ways of going about it. They all have their plus and minus points!
Basic search ‘title keyword(s)’: The words you type in the search box appear only in title fields, which are the 222, 245 and 246 MARC tags.
This search is very good to identify relevant titles on the topic you are looking for. However, this search will not bring back all titles on the subject if the search terms do not appear in the title field.
Also be aware that the title of the publication may be misleading! When searching for ‘canoe’ one result was ‘Stone canoe’. However, by looking at the whole record you can see that this title has nothing to do with canoeing. Looking for clues in this way is not always easy. It is very much dependent on the standard of the record. A search engine had to be used in a couple of cases to make sure that the title was indeed relevant as the record was very brief, one example being ‘Judo Joe’.
Basic search ‘keyword(s)’:The words you type in appear anywhere in the record.
This search is great to identify publication titles which do not seem to have anything to do with the subject. Examples include: ‘The Bump’ and ‘The Mayonnaise’, which are both rowing titles.
You do sometimes get titles which have nothing to do with the subject. An example of this is a basic keyword search using ‘badminton’, which brought back titles such as ‘Socialist beacon’ and ‘Rambler for folk’. In this case ‘Badminton’ is the publishing location.Remember to check the whole record to see that they are to do with the search terms you enter.
Basic search subject headings: The words you type in appear in the 6XX tags in a record, which correspond to subject heading schemas such Library of Congress Subject Headings, and even local subject classification schemes.
There was a particular problem when searching for ‘hockey’ and ‘diving’, where there are different types of each discipline. Looking at the subject headings is a good way of identifying which it is referring to. However, as always, we are very much dependent on the quality of the record. Some records contained the subject ‘field hockey’, but some just used ‘hockey’. Here you just need to look at the other information in the record and also use some common sense, for example ice hockey is more popular in Canada and the USA than field hockey.
Use of Boolean operators
The Boolean operators ‘AND’, OR’ and ‘NOT’ can be used in the basic search box when searching under ‘keyword(s)’ or ‘title keyword(s)’. This was used to try and get titles on the right kind of diving and hockey.
diving NOT deep NOT scuba
hockey AND field NOT ice
This improves the search results, but some irrelevant titles do still come through as they do not contain the exact words entered in the search box. Again, a good quality record helps!
There are many ways to search SUNCAT, all with their own merits. As can be seen from the above, it is best to use a variety of search techniques when trying to find titles on a specific subject area. If you are looking for a specific title then the basis search ‘exact title’ or ‘ISSN’ is more appropriate. Alternatively, you can use the advanced search options. For more information on searching in SUNCAT click on ‘Help’ at the top right-hand corner of the SUNCAT basic search or advanced search pages.