Aug 072013

This is the third in a series of blog posts highlighting some of the new or improved features which will be available in the redeveloped SUNCAT. In this post we are going to focus on the latest version of the exact title index.

Basic and advanced search along with browsing will provide users with an exact title index.  The index will be available from a pull down menu on each of the pages.

Searching by Exact Title

We have spent a lot of time and effort to decide exactly how ‘exact’ the index should be. Our first consideration was whether we should actually include a separate index or if the title keywords index would prove sufficient. However, we believe that an exact title search is very useful for “known” item searches, so that when users know precisely which title they are interested in, they can quickly and efficiently focus in on finding where that particular title is held in the UK.

After several false starts, the first of which some of you may have seen when the service was previewed in April/May, we have defined the following rules for the exact title search (for now at least!):

1) It is case insensitive e.g. searches on NEW YORK TIMES, new york times and NeW YoRk TiMeS will all return the same matches.
2) Special characters are ignored, we are currently defining special characters as !”#$%&'()*+,-./:;<=>?@[\]^_`{|}~ after further testing and feedback these may be tweaked.
3) Diacritics are ignored e.g. search terms containing an e will find ê and so on.
4) If a title has a skip in filing defined it matches with and without the skip in filing value e.g. a serial that has a MARC 21 245a tag of

245 04$aThe journal of Hellenic studies /$cthe Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies.

will get a match for either The journal of Hellenic studies or journal of Hellenic studies.

5) No partial matching, e.g. a search on New York Times will only match serials titled New York Times not New York Times Supplement.
6) It will only find matches if all the words in a search entry are in the correct order e.g. a search on New York Times will match New York Times but not York New Times.
7) Trailing whitespace at the beginning and end of an index value will be ignored.

The actual MARC 21 tags/subfields we build the exact title index from in the redeveloped SUNCAT are as follows:

1) 245 abnp (Title Statement)
2) 246 abnp (Varying Form of Title)
3) 210 a (Abbreviated Title)
4) 222 a (Key Title)

This is a significant decrease from the number of tags/subfields that the existing SUNCAT service uses for this index so we hope that this should result in directing users quickly and easily to information about specific titles of interest without the distraction of also seeing similar or related titles.

The default title keywords search will remain as a much more inclusive index, enabling users to search across MARC fields concerned with not only the main title entry but also uniform titles, related titles, continuing titles, series titles etc. – in total indexing around 30 MARC tags. As the default search this will continue to allow users to find information when they are less sure of or less specific about the titles they want to retrieve.

 August 7, 2013  Posted by at 2:15 pm Developments Tagged with: , , ,  No Responses »
Aug 202012

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.

 August 20, 2012  Posted by at 2:01 pm Weird titles Tagged with: ,  No Responses »