Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Using the NC Religion Collection Part 1: Searching

Here are a few ways to get oriented with the NC Religion collection on the Internet Archive. NB: Click on the photos. They get bigger.

NC Religion collection

Above is a partial screenshot of the NC Religion collection main page. In the top center is an About statement that explains the project with a link to Browse by Subject/Keywords. Nearby is an option to look at All items (most recently added first). Which method you select depends on what you're searching for in the first place.

The Browse option will take you to page that looks like this below:

Browse option

You can then skim through the listing of terms and select whatever appeals to your research. Once you select a term, it will direct you to a filtered listing that looks like so:

Search Results screen

Sifting through the All Items option takes you directly to the same type of listing as that screenshot above, but without the filters. On the very right-hand side of the page is a search bar where results can be narrowed by selecting specific collections, creators and file formats. Results can also be sorted according to relevance, average rating and download count. But the default is by date. At this point, the Browse and All Items have the same capabilities. However, by choosing a term through Browse, the results are more defined upfront.

All Items option

In the top right corner of the page above is a link to run an advanced search. The advanced search form incorporates the entire Internet Archive, so you would need to know distinguishing details to conduct a search that would retrieve NC Religion-related materials. This is probably not the best strategy for searching within the NC Religion collection unless you are on the hunt for an explicit set of items.

Returning to the NC Religion main page, the remaining top half of the screen features a Spotlight Item and FAQ on the Internet Archive (left side) and Most Downloaded Items Last Week (right side). The lower portion of the page looks like this:

Lower half of NC Religion collection
In the center is an area for Related Collections, Recently Reviewed Items and This Just In, linked titles of newly added materials. To the right is a listing of the Most Downloaded Items.

But the very middle of the page offers another possible search route. Sub-collections divide and organize the collection in an easily accessible way. The sub-collections for NC Religion include:
Just by looking at them, the types of materials that fall under a given sub-collection are readily transparent and should appear jargon-free. Due to the parameters of the project, each item is assigned to one sub-collection. Although some items might fit under two or even more sub-collections, we have tried to select the most appropriate overall category.

After clicking on a sub-collection of your choice, let's say Sermons of North Carolina, you are directed to a page that looks an awful lot like the NC Religion collection main page. Basically, each sub-collection has its own main page that resembles the home page with a few minor differences. From the Sermons sub-collection page, you can take a similar search approach by deciding to Browse Collection, to Browse by Subject/Keyword or to pull up All Items. With Sermons as well as Meetings, Proceedings and Conference Reports, you have the additional opportunity to skim the holdings by title.

Sermons of North Carolina sub-collection
Essentially, the sub-collection-directed search method is almost identical to a general NC Religion collection search method. The major difference is that sub-collections allow you to narrow your results by considering only a certain variety of materials rather than the NC Religion collection at large. Sub-collection searches are helpful if you have a distinct desire, question or material in mind. If your approach is more indefinite, then a basic collection search would aid in serendipitous finding before constricting topics.

And that's a brief overview of search possibilities with the NC Religion collection on the Internet Archive. Whew! Next up, I'll talk about viewing an item.

No comments:

Post a Comment