St. Catharines  PL Public Library
Search help
Search results will offer facets that you can use to further narrow your results.
Entering the following in the search box:
Results in:
Single keyword searches will return results with any instance of text containing the word Train, including Trains and Training and Strain. Keywords searches are naturally “fuzzy,” but you can specify *how* fuzzy on the advanced search screen (see below).
Train VIA
Multiple Keywords will get you the same results as searching Train and VIA as separate keywords (see AND). It will not treat Train VIA as a phrase.
"Trains and Boats"
Phrase searching will contain results with the phrase Trains and Boats. Putting double-quotations around a phrase will find whatever is inside the quotes. You can also use Advanced Search to select the "phrase" button from the "Logic between keywords" list. This setting works a bit differently: it only recognizes the most common words, so words like of and in may be ignored.
Train OR Locomotive
OR helps you broaden your search to include synonyms or variants, such as Train and Locomotive. The OR must be capitalized. Results will be all text that contain the words Train or Locomotive. You can also use Advanced Search to insert "OR" from the "Logic between keywords" list.
Train AND Locomotive
AND will provide results containing the word Train and the word Locomotive, but not selections containing just one of those words. The AND must be capitalized. You can also use Advanced Search to insert "AND" from the "Logic between keywords" list.
Train AND NOT Locomotive
AND NOT results will contain the word Train but not the word Locomotive. The words AND NOT must be capitalized.
Use the Asterisk * for results with anything that begins with the letters Train and ends with an S, such as Trains, Traintracks, and Trainers. The asterisk is called a wildcard. You can't use the wildcard at the beginning (for example, *rains will not work). You might want to use it for spelling variations such as harb*r (for both harbour and harbor). Wildcard searches are case-sensitive, meaning you will get results containing "Trains" with a capital T but not "trains" - the other searches here are not case-sensitive.
"Canada and Halton""
Selections containing the phrase Canada and Halton. Note that in this instance the word and is part of the phrase, not a search instruction. Alternatively, go to the Advanced Search screen, enter "Canada and Halton" and select the "phrase" radio button from the "Logic between keywords" list. Note: not all words are stored in the index so words like "of" and "in" may be ignored in your phrase.
Newspaper Site Search Help

Searches in newspaper sites return a variety of results and are not always perfectly accurate. This is because indexes have been input over time by many hands, some newspapers are scanned and uploaded locally and might not have full text files, whereas others might be processed and uploaded with all the files for full text search with hit highlighted results; some are hand-transcribed while others are transcribed by a computer with varying accuracy. Here are a few tips on how to navigate those results and more closely identify the material you are looking for.

When you search a name or phrase, your results might include:

Index records
Index records will have at least a title, some will have full text transcriptions, subjects, dates, and other descriptive metadata. Your search term can appear in any available field. Index records might be standalone (and will have a generic thumbnail image) or they might be linked to a newspaper issue or page (and will have a newspaper masthead or page thumbnail). Use the advanced search (see below) to search only index records.
Full Text
Full text from scanned newspaper pages results may return a snippet of text under the newspaper publication and issue information. This is the first occurance of your term in that issue and can help you decide if it’s a relevant hit. There may be other occurances of the term on that same page that are outside the range of the the snippet. If hits occur on multiple pages of an issue, the page links will appear below the snippet. Mouse over those pages to see the first occurrence of your term on that page in context. When you link to the page, you will need to browse the page to find your term.
Hit Highlights
Hit Highlighting occurs when a page has been processed for “positional OCR”. In results, you will see a snippet of the page image (a “tile”) where your term first occurs. Mouse over the linked page numbers to see a text snippet with your term in context. When you link to the page, your terms will be highlighted red/pink. Use the zoom tool (double click, scroll, or use the navigation panel controls) to see your term on the page.
Publication records
A Publication record is the parent record for a set of index records and/or scanned issues. It will appear in results sets if your term appears in the publication title or description. By going to the publication record, you can browse all available issues by choosing the publication year and narrowing to month and date of publication. On the Description tab, you’ll find more information about the publication itself. Publications are often grouped or linked with other regional papers.
About inaccurate text results
OCR or Optical Character Recognition is a process by which software tries to “recognize” text characters and then produce a file with those characters in strings that resemble the original structure of the image it was “reading”. Especially with old newspapers, text is not always easy to “read” (the human eye and brain allow us better recognition), so the output is not always accurate. Full text results will vary, therefore, and a certain level of “fuzzy” searching is applied in VITA news sites to allow for more results rather than only the most accurate. As a result, you might search the phrase “nut brown” and have returned “but Brown” or “nuts, brown” or just “brown”.
About inaccurate index records
Index records tend to be manually entered over long periods of time by many different people. Unless they have been processed and corrected systematically, you might find variations in accuracy and depth of information in any given collection of index records. If you have concerns or information to add about an index record, please use the Comment form and send a message to the agency so they can review the records and make any necessary changes.
Advanced Search & Faceting

Use the options on the advanced search screen to refine your search, or use the facets that may appear with your search results to narrow the results:

  • Contributors: If multiple agencies contribute to a collection, you can choose to only see one agency’s collection.
  • Dates: Choose a year or a decade.
  • Groups: Select from any sub-collections.
  • Locations: Scope to see objects from any pinned location on the map.
  • Media and Item Types: Choose to view only certain media types or item types.
  • Subjects: Browse objects with the same subject headings.
  • User contributions & engagement: Choose items with comments, mystery questions or that were contributed by the public.

The Fuzzy search will broaden your search by looking for similarly-spelled words as the ones you entered. This is why a Fuzzy search on Macdonald also finds McDonald and Macdonalds. Going even Fuzzier will return "Donald" as well. It's a good setting to use if you're not sure you have the correct spelling of a given term, or if you're researching a name that may have changed its spelling over time.

Fuzzy Dates allow you to set a date range instead of searching a specific year. You can enter 1905 and set the range to look for "within five years," which will return anything tagged from 1900 to 1910. Some records may not have a year set, only a decade, or its own range - from earliest to latest guess. If your range (1900-1910) intersects with a record's range (for example, 1909-1925) it will be returned, to give you the broadest possible results.

The Geographic Location limits your search to records tagged with that specific place name. Some of the records in the index may not be indexed by place, and would not appear in the results. Sometimes, places are contained by other places (a bay in a lake, or a village in a township, or a "harbor" in a town). You will need to search each term separately. It is a powerful way to narrow results but use it with caution.

For those who wish to analyze their search results more in-depth using mapping software, we offer the download of KML files on any search results page. By clicking this, you are downloading a Keyhole Markup Language (KML) file, which delivers location-based information. KML files are read by tools such as Google Earth to display points and data on a map or 3D model. Each place located by the KML file gives at least a longitude and latitude. The first step to using a KML file is to have an application like Google Earth or another application on your computer that is capable of handling this file format. There are excellent Google Earth Help files and documentation available. You may also wish to search for browser plug-ins that will generate maps using KML files.
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