Brooks Free Library Help Page

Welcome to the Brooks Free Library Historical Newspaper Site Help page.   This page includes descriptions of various features of the search site, as well as short videos showing the site in action.

When you arrive at the Home Page, and simply want to search someone’s name or an event name, you may conduct a simple search by going to the input box, entering your search word or phrase, and clicking Go.  

The search engine will return a list of available newspapers containing your search term.  The list is arranged by date of publication, with the oldest newspaper first.

Click the title of the newspaper page you want to view.  Be patient, these pages are huge and may take 2 – 3 seconds to open.  If your page has a T on the banner, it means that your page has two levels, an image level and contents level.  Click this T to reveal the page contents as a text file, with the search hit word exposed.

If you want more control of your search, use the Advanced Search page.  Here, you can input your search term, but also limit the search to the date range you are interested in.  For instance, if you want to find Bob Brown between the years of 1930 and 1940, go here to the Date selector, then choose the parameters you want. The search engine will return a list of all newspaper pages between the years 1930 land 1940 containing the phrase Bob Brown.

As you become a seasoned veteran of the search experience, you will discover something:  the more advanced and complicated your search, the more likely you are to get to the exact document you want, and at the exact page you want, on your very first search attempt.

Our search engine allows you to perform our traditional Precise Search syntax, but it also allows you to use a simplified version (you engage that option simply by checking the box titled Simplified Search.)  Our Simplified Search allows for the use of modern search syntax used by popular search engines like Google, Bing, and others. 

General Search

  1. Home Screen Search: Instantly search every page of the collection.
  2. One Word search: Precise vs Simplified ::  Both get the same result
  3. Phrase searches: Precise vs Simplified :: Search results are wildly different
  4. Precise Search vs Simplified Search :: Why Microsearch Uses both syntax formulations

Advanced Search

  • The Beauty of Metadata Fields: How to use Metadata Fields to enlighten your search
  • Use multiple fields to narrow search results
  • Boolean Search Syntax :: The foundation of Precise Search

Quick Search: Instantly search the highlighted database

If you are at the home screen and the database you are working with is highlighted, simply input your search phrase into the quick search box in the upper left hand corner of your screen.  For instance, if you want to find documents containing the phrase financial remedy, enter the phrase and hit the search button.  

Note that you cannot use any fields to narrow your search results with this search dialogue box.  To use fields to support you search, click on the SEARCH TAB.

One Word Search: Precise vs Simplified::  Both get the same result

Hit the SEARCH TAB to go to the search form.  This is the page to input your search syntax to get the results you want.  The page accommodates simple as well as advanced searches, and both Precise Searches and Simplified Searches.

To perform a Precise Search for a single word, input that word into the search dialogue box and press search. To perform a Simplified search, be sure to check the Simplified Search checkbox. 

For a single word search, the results of a Precise Search and a Simplified Search are identical.  That is the only case where the results are identical. But be careful: if you perform any other search, such as a phrase search, the difference in the results can be wildly different!

Search for a phrase: Precise vs Simplified: Search results are wildly different

Precise Search for a two-word phrase tells the search algorithm to find documents with word #1 a single space from word #2.  For instance, Precise Search for the phrase financial remedy finds 13 occurrences. 

 On the other hand, check the Simplified Search box to invoke the Simplified Search function, and the same search finds 3743 occurrences.  That is because the Simplified Search algorithm instructs the computer to find all documents in the database with the word financial plus all documents in the database with the word remedy. The Precise Search algorithm, on the other hand, tells the computer to find all documents containing the word financial followed by a space followed by the word remedy.

Precise Search vs Simplified Search: Why Microsearch offers the use of both syntax formulations

Precise Search depends on Boolean Logic for performing complicated searches. Boolean logic helps make searching much more efficient.  However, many researchers today are not familiar with Boolean Logic searches, and instead are used to search syntaxes such as used by Google, Bing, and other popular internet search engines.   The use of the Simplified Search function allows those users to search with familiar results.

Parentheses in searches: How are they interpreted by the computer  

A parentheses in a search syntax tells the computer to  process the search syntax in the parentheses first, before any additional syntax.  For instance, in the search syntax (white cat) not (black dog), the computer understands the instruction to be, find all documents that contain the phrase white cat, but that do not also contain the phrase black dog.

The Beauty of Metadata Fields: How to use Metadata Fields to enlighten your search

Metadata is information about any document.  Microsearch provides the ability to include a large number of metadata fields about the documents in each database.  Metadata a fields might contain information such as author name, date of publication, arbitrator (if the document is a arbitration decision, for instance), final decision, counterparties, etc.  The use of metadata field search in conjunction with full text search of the document contents, means that the searcher can hone in on the exact document desired.