Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Searching The OPAC - Entering Search Statements


Search statements may be entered in uppercase, lowercase, or mixed case. The Web OPAC isn't sensitive to case, since it translates all search statements to lowercase before performing the search.


When processing search statements, the Web OPAC observes the following rules regarding punctuation:

  • The ampersand (&) is treated as if it were the word "and" spelled out

  • Apostrophes are removed

  • Most other punctuation marks are replaced by spaces for purposes of searching

  • INNOPAC treats repeated spaces or repeated punctuation marks (other than the ampersand and the apostrophe) as a single space, e.g., " --- " is treated as " ". Whether or not these punctuation marks are included has no effect on a search.

Examples of equivalent searches

All the King's Men

All the Kings Men

Fathers & Sons

Fathers and Sons

O'Malley, Walter

Omalley Walter


Mexico history

U.S. News

U S News

U. S. News


While the above three "U.S. News" entries are equivalent to each other, they are NOT equivalent to "US News" (since there is no space between the 'U' and 'S')

Diacritics and Special Characters

INNOPAC supports the full ALA character set even when searching is done using terminals and microcomputers which cannot display certain diacritics and special characters. On these terminals, searches for special characters may be done using substitute Roman characters which the library specifies. For example, a search for books about Spain, "España", will succeed if the user keys "Espana" (no diacritics or special characters) even though the system has stored the Spanish "ñ" in a representative form as set by the Library of Congress. The Web OPAC will display these characters, provided the client browser has been configured to do so.

Chinese Characters

INNOPAC searches for both the traditional form of a character and the simplified form, at the same time, when a user enters either form in the search statement. As is the case with ALA special characters, the Web OPAC will display them on browsers that are configured to do so.

Initial Articles

When filing MARC 21 (USMARC) entries, INNOPAC takes into account the MARC 21 format specifications concerning when to ignore initial articles in titles (i.e., the second indicator of the 245 field). Where the MARC 21 format is incomplete (e.g., for a subfield t of a 7xx field which begins with an English language article), INNOPAC will still file the entry correctly.

The library can specify the initial articles that INNOPAC should ignore in Web OPAC search statements for title searches, e.g., a, an, the, la, le, les, l', etc. Users performing searches may choose to input or not input articles which are included in the library's list; either way, INNOPAC will retrieve the same record(s). For example, if the is included in the list of articles to ignore, a user may input the title The New Yorker or New Yorker; in either case, the system will retrieve the correct record(s). If no records are found, the user will be offered an opportunity to browse in the appropriate alphabetical portion of the index, e.g., New, not The. If the library has included le in the list of initial articles to ignore, then a user may start a search statement with either Le Monde or Monde and INNOPAC will retrieve the correct record(s). If no records are found, INNOPAC will place the user in the Ms, not the Ls. Likewise, if l' is included in the list of articles to ignore, INNOPAC will search for age if l'age is the first word in the search statement.


If you wish to retrieve titles beginning with a word which is normally considered to be an initial article (e.g., the title "A to Z, the Alphabet"), type the initial article twice when performing the search. For example, entering "A A TO Z, the Alphabet" will cause INNOPAC to search for the desired title.

If an article is not in the list of initial articles to ignore, INNOPAC will treat it as a word to search for. The person performing the search must determine whether the article should be included in the search, as in "Los Angeles", or should not be included in the search, e.g., "los lobos". Note, however, the system can retrieve records correctly for users who input initial articles not included in the library's list, if the cataloger makes an added entry (or a cross reference) for the heading using the initial article (i.e., the added entry has the indicator set to zero).

MRRL's list of ignored initial articles is:

an ,the ,el , la ,las ,lo ,los ,un ,una ,unas ,unos ,das ,le ,l' , and les

No comments: