Search Engine Documentation

Search Engine Features

  • Searching Options - The Search Engine currently allows users to search our database in five ways:

    1. By an interview's subject

    2. By an informant's ethnicity/tribe

    3. For informants by first and/or last name

    4. For interviewers by first and/or last name

    5. By collection and tape number

    The search engine will return a list of matching interviews for subject and ethnicity/tribe searches, a list of people for informant and interviewer searches, and an abstract for a collection and tape number search.

  • Number of records per page - This allows users to have greater control over the presentation of lists of matching interviews. A user simply selects the number to display from the main search form.

  • Viewing abstracts - A user can view an abstract of any interview by clicking the link provided with every matching interview or by directly searching by collection and tape number.

  • Printable documents - The search engine provides two printable reports:

    1. An interview's abstract
    2. A printable list of matching interviews

    Read the "Search Engine Manual" page for printing instructions.

  • Backward linking - Links are provided to perform new searches or to return to search results throughout the search engine, allowing users to perform multiple searches or view multiple abstracts easily.

  • Query caching - Querys are cached for better performance during searches. This makes navigating through search results and printing search results much quicker. Querys are currently cached for 30 minutes.

  • Lists of terms - When performing a Subject or Ethnicity/Tribe search, the user has the ability to provide a list of terms to the search engine. The search engine will return interviews that match any of the search terms.

    Read the "Search Engine Manual" to learn how to provide lists to the search engine.

  • Case insensitive - All searches are case insensitive.

  • Feedback - You can send feedback to us anytime by simply filling out our feedback form.

    Read our "Search Engine Manual" for directions if necessary.

Search Engine Limitations

  • Full text searches - The search engine does not perform full text searches.

  • Boolean expressions - The search engine does not handle boolean expressions. For example, the criteria "green and yellow" would cause the search engine to look for the phrase "green and yellow" instead of looking for matches that contain green and yellow.

  • Subqueries - The search engine does not support querying search results.

  • Relevancy - Since the search engine does not perform full text searches, no relevancy rankings are given. For subject searches, the interview at least mentions the subject but it may not go into very much depth on that subject.

  • Subject search speed - Since the search engine needs to process a lot of information for subject searches, a delay of up to a minute would not be unexpected. The delay also depends on the number of matching interviews as well as the complexity of the search criteria.

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The South Dakota Oral History Center wants your feedback on our search engine. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions about it, simply fill out our feedback form.

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