Cornell University Library site
The Samuel J. May Anti-Slavery Collection

May Anti-Slavery Collection Help

Help Topics


Getting Started | Tips for beginners | Choosing a Search Type | Searching vs. Browsing


Basic | Advanced (Boolean, Proximity, Bibliographic) | Understanding Results | Using the Bookbag | Search within this Book



Other topics

OCR text vs. page images | Viewing and navigating texts | Printing


Getting Started

May Anti-Slavery Collection allows you to submit simple and advanced queries. To conduct a search, follow these steps:

Help topics

Tips for Beginners

Help topics

Choosing a Search Type

One way to control your search is to select from among a number of search types.

Basic search is the simplest search; it allows you to look for a single word or phrase in a designated area of the text (full text, author, title, or date).

Boolean search lets your look for combinations of up to three terms or phrases using Boolean connector terms (i.e. AND, OR, NOT). It also allows you to look for them in the same page or work.

Proximity search lets you look for terms based on whether they occur (or do not occur) within a specified distance of each other.

Bibliographic search lets you look for words that occur in author or title fields, and not the full text of the book.

Help topics

Searching vs. Browsing



See below for more information on Searching and Browsing.

Help topics


Basic Search

Basic searches are best used when searching with a single word or phrase. Enter a word or phrase, including an author's name. Use the pull-down "Search in" menu to select an area of the text to search (full text, title, author, or date). Click the Search button to submit the query. The search looks for the terms anywhere in any of the texts. Beware that multiple words will be treated as a literal string, so a search for culture East Indies will assume those words are the phrase "culture East Indies." To search for culture AND East Indies, use Boolean search. If using common words, this search may produce a very large number of results. For more complex searches, with search limit options, try an Advanced Search (Boolean, Proximity, Bibliographic).

Help topics

Advanced searching: Boolean | Proximity | Bibliographic

Boolean Searching

Boolean searches allow you to combine up to three search terms or phrases using Boolean connector terms (AND, OR, NOT) and look for them in the same page or work. Use the pull-down "Search in" menu to select an area of the text to search in (pages or works). The default is pages.

Enter a term or phrase in the first text box. Multiple words will be treated as a literal string.

If you enter a term in the second text box, select a Boolean operator after the first text box to determine the relationship. To further limit the scope of the search, add words or word phrases in the "Limit to" boxes and select a bibliographic field (title, author, date) from the appropriate field menu.

For example:

Pages or Works option:

How Boolean searches are executed:

If you had formulated your search as mangoes AND fruits OR papaya you would have gotten a very different set of results. Why?

Help topics

Proximity searching:

Proximity searches look for the co-occurrence of search terms. This allows you to specify the physical relationship between the words you are looking for -- so you can look for words following each other or near each other.

For example:

Help topics

Bibliographic searching

Bibliographic searches are useful for quickly locating items with a known title, author, or date by searching the bibliographic records and not the full text of the books. You may also search using a known subject heading or for a keyword anywhere in the bibliographic citation (so you could also search for items from a particular publisher or all the works published in New York in 1830).

Example #1:

You want to find all the works by members of the Washington family.

Your results will list all works written by authors who have Washington somewhere in their names.

You are interested in all the works by xxx in 1870.

Note: If you had done this search as a Basic Search and selected "Search in: Author" and then put "Find: Washington", you would get the same search results.

Example #2:

You are interested in all the works by xxx in 1830:

Your results may contain some false matches if the words xxx and 1830 appear in other parts of the citation (such as the title), but most will match your desired criteria.

Help topics

Understanding search results

Help topics

Using the Bookbag

The bookbag lets you select items as you search or browse collections and hold them for the duration of your search session. Item records in your bookbag can be saved to your desktop as a text file, or emailed to any email address. You can also search items in your bookbag collectively, as well as link to any item directly.

Adding an item to your bookbag

You can add items to your bookbag from the results list, from the item table of contents, or while viewing an individual text. In the results list, under each work title, is an add to bookbag link.

To add an item to the bookbag, simply click the corresponding link. The number of items in the bookbag will be updated in the right side portion of the page header.

A corresponding add to bookbag link appears next to the work title when you are viewing the full contents of the text. Clicking the link there will add that item to the bookbag in the same fashion.

Opening the bookbag

You can view your bookbag contents from any page by clicking the view bookbag tab at the top right on the main navigation bar.

The bookbag holdings display

The main bookbag page is the holdings display. All the features in the bookbag are available from this page (see fig. 1 - TO COME).


At the top right corner is a count of items in the bookbag. You can make searches restricted to your bookbag by clicking on search in bookbag. With this you can collect works into a bookbag from searches on a certain broad topic or author, and then do more in-depth analysis of the works as a group.

Other options:

Help topics

Search within this book

Once you have found a book you would like to see, use this function to search for additional search terms within that particular book.

For example:

You would like to search for the keyword "ladies" in the book with the title, Discussion on American slavery.

Help topics


To browse the hyperlinked bibliography of all works in the collection, click on Browse and then choose Author, Title, Date. Once you find the title or author you want, click on it to go directly to the book's record.


Help topics

Other topics

OCR text vs page images

May Anti-Slavery Collection materials have been encoded in a simple SGML form (a 40 element DTD conforming to the TEI Guidelines). This data includes the document text from the OCR (Optical Character Recognition) process. Many users have asked if they can have access to the plain, uncorrected OCR text. We believe that in most cases people will still want to look at the page images of the books, but have decided to make the text available to users so they can save it, cut and paste, and to use the "find" feature on their Web browsers to locate a word on a page. We think that this will be of benefit to our users. If you want to view the plain text, there are a couple of ways to accomplish this:

Page by page viewing:

Go to the desired page and choose "view as text" from the view as menu in the toolbar at the top. As you move forward or back in the work, you will continue paging through plain text until you choose another "view as" option.

Enter books:

You may choose to view an entire book in plain text by selecting the "view as text" option. The file can be saved by selecting the "save" option in the browser"s File menu. By default, the file will be saved as HTML, which can be viewed with a web browser (text will not be broken up by line or page -- it is one large block of text). You can also change the file extension to .txt to save as text for viewing with a text editor or word processor (this preserves line and page breaks).

Please be aware that some of these texts are as long as 1,000 pages and will take a long time to download, particularly over a modem. Such a large download may also crash your Web browser.

Help topics

Viewing and Navigating a text

When you begin to view a book, you will also see a separate navigation frame at the top of your browser that looks like this (without the number labels). This is what the various parts mean:

Previous page:
Click on this icon. It goes to the previous page of the text.

Page #:
Indicates the number of the page you are viewing and the total number of pages in the text.

Next page:
Click on this icon. It goes to the next page of the text.

View as:
sets the size of the image you are viewing. If you have a smaller monitor you might want to choose a low percentage. The percentages are in a pull down menu. The size you choose will stay in effect until you change it or end your session. Other options on this menu include:

Go to page #:
Jumps to a desired page that you enter in the box. Especially handy for moving from a table of contents to a section of a book. "Go to page #" is a button and must be clicked on to jump to the desired page.

Go to:
jumps to special purpose pages such as title pages, tables of contents, and lists of illustrations. The special pages are listed in a pull down menu. Not all texts will contain the same choices.

Help topics

Printing a text

Go to File > Print in your browser's menu.

Note on diacritics: A Unicode version is planned for summer 2006. Until then, some entries may not indicate proper diacritics. For example, arrivée will appear as arrivee. We are aware that this seems like a misspelling and hope to fix this with the Unicode version.

Help topics