Help with Searching

Keyword Search

The keyword search box appears on the top of the search page.

Keyword Search gives access to items and exhibits in the Maine Memory Network. Type in a keyword, phrase, or document number (MMN Number) and specify whether you would like to search by the exact word or similar words.

Keyword (for example: Women)

Enter any word or words in the Keyword field and the search engine will return the documents that match your keyword(s). Each document has a cataloging record and a short description of the item. The search engine will search through every field (except for the local code and notes fields) to find matches to the exact keywords you search by. The text of manuscripts is not searched.

Item Number (for example: 5001)

Search on similar words and phrases vs. exact word matching (stemming)

Our search engine uses two indexes of our catalog record, one stemmed and one not stemmed. This means you have the option to search for only the exact word or phrase you type in the box, or to search for words and phrases that are similar in spelling. For example, a search inquiry for "catalog" will return both "catalogue" and "catalog" with the "similar words" option selected.

Searching for similar words is the default search. You should switch to exact word matching when an initial search returns too many results.

Once search results are returned to you, you have the option of conducting successive searches within those results. At the top of every search page is a search box where you can select "search within these results" (performs new search within returned results) or "new search" (performs new search from scratch).

If your search returns no results you will be provided with a list of similar keywords, categories and concepts that will link you to similar images

Logical Operators (aka Boolean Operators)

When your search results are either too specific or too broad, you can use a Logical Operator (also called Boolean Operators, or Boolean Search Terms) to modify your search keywords. Logical Operators are linking-words like AND, OR &, NOT, which combine the search criteria in various ways to narrow or broaden a search.

Enter Logical Operators between keywords in the keyword search. The operators are case sensitive -- USE UPPERCASE ONLY.

Shipbuilding OR Bath retrieves items or exhibits containing either the words "shipbuilding" or "bath"

shipbuilding AND Bath NOT navy retrieves first the items or exhibits that contain both the words "shipbuilding" and "Bath"; then among those, it retrieves the ones that do not contain the word "navy".

Without these operators, the search engine will assume you're putting the term AND between each search term.

The minus sign can also be used in place of NOT.

boat -sebago is equivalent to boats NOT sebago

Order of Evaluation

Expressions are always evaluated left to right:

granite NOT rockland AND vinalhaven retrieves files which contain "granite" and "vinalhaven" but not "rockland"

However it is always possible to force the order of evaluation by using parenthesis. For example:

granite NOT (rockland AND vinalhaven) retrieves files with "granite" and containing neither "rockland" nor "vinalhaven".

Search Examples:

general washington (exact phrase)
will return records with "general washington"

general washington (similar words)
will return records with similar words or associations

general OR washington
will return records with either "general" or "washington"

general NOT washington
will return records with "general" but not "washington"

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Browse Tool

Our browse tool represents a major improvement in our search technologies.

Besides giving an overview of the contents of our website, the browse tool offers a more controlled display of information. Unlike a dynamically generated index, the information listed within the browse tool is compiled by our staff, allowing for more targeted control over search options and results.

The Browse by Topic section of the search page contains fifteen browse headings, ranging from Arts & Entertainment to Transportation. These headings are underlined and are in bold text, and each heading has a partial list of subcategories under it. If you click on any of the major browse headings, you will be taken to a browse page specifically for that heading. Clicking on any of the subcategories will automatically return a search for that subcategory.

On each of the individual heading browse pages, the major heading will be broken down into subcategories, which are then further broken down into subcategories of their own. Here you can click on a second level browse category, or a third level browse category. Choosing either the second or third level categories will automatically generate a search for that heading.

We are interested in feedback and suggestions, or sharing our experience, so please let us know how it works for you. If you would like further information on our browse tool, please go to the technology section.

Search by Contributor

Over half of the items in the Maine Memory Network have been contributed by Contributing Partners other than the Maine Historical Society. The Search By Contributor page allows access to the online items from all the Contributing Partners.

Search by Town

The Search by Town page lists all of the towns with related items in the Maine Memory Network. Items about a town were not necessarily contributed by that town, but possibly by a local historical society, library, or archive.

Advanced Search

This tool is useful for limiting a search that results in too many items, or to hone in on a very specific topic. It allows you to limit your search by county, document type, or year, for example. To use it, type a keyword or phrase in the box, and select limiters to restrict your search. Then click search.

Restrict by County

Type a keyword into the Keyword field and check the box next to one or more counties. Click the search button at the bottom of the page. The search engine will then only return items with the specified keyword that relates to those counties.

Restrict by Document Type

Type a keyword into the Keyword field and check a box next to a document type. Click the search button at the bottom of the page. This will limit the search to your keyword(s) and a specified document type. For example, if you want to view only written documents from the Civil War, type "Civil War" in the search field and check the box labeled "text" then click the search button at the bottom of the page.

Document types include:

  • Images (photos, paintings, drawings, etc.)
  • Text (journals, letters, manuscripts, etc.)
  • Three Dimensional Objects
  • Sound/Film

Restrict by Year

To search for items related to a single year, enter a keyword into the Keyword field and type a four digit year into the Specific Year field. Click the search button at the bottom of the page.

To search for items related to a span of years, use the Keyword field with the Year Range fields. For example, if you are looking for items relating to airplanes between the years 1905 and 1910, type "airplanes" in the Keyword field and type "1905" in the FROM: field and "1910" in the TO: field and click the search button at the bottom of the page.

Click here to go to the advanced search page.

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