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Catholic Research Resources Alliance (CRRA): Decode the Portal

How to Decode Your Search

First things first: figuring out if your search is what you want to find.  Is "religious orders" too general?  Then go to the green box or think about changing your search terms to focus on one specific order.  Are you looking for a specific format for your search?  For example, does your assignment call for primary sources?  Then, you will probably want to head to the green box, under format, and click on the limiter "Archival Material."  A limiter is an adjective that further qualifies the resource you are looking for. 

Next, you will probably want to check out the red box.  This will tell you where the resource is located.  Do you live in Boston, and therefore it will be easy for you to get to the Burns Library in Boston?  If not, go back to the green box, and under library, click the library that will be closest, and easiest for you to get to.  The red box is where it will tell you the kind of format for your source. 

Lastly, does nothing look right?  You may need to change your search term.  If that is the case, then take a look at the blue box before you enter new words.  These are suggestions for topics that are close to the topic you have been searching.  It is a great tool if you cannot think of the right words to search.

Decoding the Advanced Search

After reading about how to Decode your Basic Search, Decoding the Advanced Search is going to be a lot easier. 

First, take a look at the green box.  In order to narrow the search of "religious orders" I added another subject search term.  This way, only resources that mention both "religious orders" and "Dominican" will come up as a result.  You can change the search terms to any number of fields.  Author, Call Number, Publisher, are just some more examples.

Next, let's look at the blue box.  If I wanted Illustrated works, no illustrated works, or if I didn't have a preference I could add this.  This might even bring up some Illuminated manuscripts!

The red box is for the year of publication.  Since illuminated manuscripts are more plentiful during earlier time periods, I made sure to limit this search even further.

The last piece of information to give you is where to go for help if you need it.  You'll notice the "Search Tips"  on the top right side of the screen.  Click on the "Help with Advanced Search" and "Help with Search Operators." They are sure to be able to aid you further, if you need it.

Your First Search

Advanced Search

Other Features

If you can't remember the exact name at all, try the "Search Alphabetically" listed below on the Advanced Search Page.  Enter what you think it starts with, then browse through the listings that start with those letters.  Search history will help if you can't remember what terms you have used. 

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