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Black Abolitionist Papers: Search Tab

A guide to all aspects of ProQuest's Black Abolitionist Papers database including content, searching, and viewing results.

Search Tab Tips

The Search page allows you to precisely search all of the content contained in the database.

1) Publication Types

There are two types of publications in this database: Primary documents and Editorial content. Both are selected by default; to de-select one source type, click the checkbox to remove the check mark.

2) Search Fields 

To conduct a search, type your search terms (individual words or phrases) into the Keyword(s) search box. Optionally, you may also narrow the search using a range of other fields: Author, Title, and Personal Name.  These three fields have accompanying browsable indexes accessed via the Select from list link to the right of each field. Click the link to browse and select from the list of indexed names or terms you wish to be added to the search fields for searching.

The Search page allows you to restrict or expand the search by using Boolean and proximity operators, expand the search to include related meanings and alternative spellings, or search for variations on search terms using truncation, and specify exact matching. You can also limit your search to one or more content types. Please see the Search Tips help page for more information on complex searching.

Note: In the search boxes, all terms are treated by default as if they were combined using the Boolean operator AND. Certain common words and symbols such as a, an, he, if etc. are excluded from searches; searches on words such as these are likely to take a long time and produce a large number of possibly irrelevant matches.

To begin a new search, either click the Clear Search link located after the search fields or click the Search tab in the navigation bar at the top of the page.

3) Content Types

You may select any combination of content categories (Primary documents and Editorial content) on the Search page; all categories are shown as selected by default. To select/deselect a category click the checkbox for that content type. Note that if you de-select all categories, all will be searched by the search engine. Keyboard users can use their tab key to move from field to field, and spacebar to select & de-select categories.

4) Additional Search Fields

The Search page offers additional search fields at the bottom of the page. These fields can be considered advanced search options and include Document Type, Location, Time Period, Subjects, and Source. All fields except the Keyword field have additional browsable indexes accessible via the Select from list link to the right of the field. 

Either enter your own search term into the desired search box or click on the Select from list link (if available) next to the field to browse a list of terms. You will be taken to the appropriate list from which you can make a selection (or selections) using the checkboxes, these will then be transferred to the appropriate search field on the Search page.

Search Page

Search Tab Tips - continued

5) Results Display Options

The Search page offers two options for controlling how the search results are displayed after clicking the Search button. 

Sort order allows you to choose how your results will display: Most Relevant or Alphabetical by Last Name. 

Results Per Page  allows you to choose how many results appear on each page of results: 25 or 50.

6) Tools

The database offers several tools for working with search results and sharing information.

The Marked List page lists the bibliographic records you have selected and added from the Search Results page or Full Record page during your current session. It allows you to create a list of items selected from searches in the current session, view the full record, email, print or download items from the list, remove items from your list, or save items to My Archive if you want to keep them beyond the current session.

Note that items will only remain on the Marked List page for the duration of the current session.

Each entry in the list consists of:

  • A number to indicate the position of the item in the list
  • Brief bibliographic information including a link to the full record.
  • Select this item checkbox (to select the record for printing, emailing, etc.)

The database allows you to add a total of 500 items to Marked List. If you already have 500 items in the list and you try to add another from the Search Results page, Full Record, View Contents or Full Text you will be prompted to remove some of the items from Marked List.

  • Click the Marked List link in the side panel. (The number of items currently in your list is shown next to this link).
  • Follow the instructions below for removing items from the Marked List.
  • Go back and add more items.

The Search History page records all the searches you have run during the current session. It allows you to run searches again, modify them, save them to My Archive, combine them with other searches or delete them from your list.

Note that the searches on the Search History page are only retained for a single session, so any information recorded there will be lost once you exit Black Abolitionist Papers. If you want to keep a search beyond the current session then you must save it to the My Archive area.

Click the Search History link in the main areas of Black Abolitionist Papers to open the Search History index.

Note that only the terms of your search are recorded, not the results of the search itself.

The Durable URL link can be found in many locations throughout the database. View the durable URL for the search page by clicking on the link found in the box. A layer will open, from which you can copy and paste the highlighted URL so that you can bookmark the page or share it with others.