Today we have introduced some enhancements to the database search results processing on American Ancestors. These updates are intended to answer two of the most commonly asked questions about search:
- Why did I get Zero records for my search – Typically found when using Advanced Search (https://www.americanancestors.org/search/advanced-search)
- I received results, but they don’t seem like a good fit – Usually found with Database or Category Search
For the case of Zero records, you will now see a blue box in the results area that provides some suggestions on how to proceed. An example is in the image above. The contents of the box provide suggestions that are adjust for the query parameters that you have used. The Learn More link takes you to a short document reviewing a general set of suggestions for how to avoid this problem. Other items provide specific instructions to change your search parameters and help you find results. There are also links to a recorded webinar on search, start over with a new query or even contact Research Services for a thorny research problem.
The approach for the case of results that don’t seem like a good fit is similar. With Database and Category search the default experience is to get results that match any your criteria. This can be very helpful if here is something close, but it looks strange if there is not a good match on the last name. The picture below gives an example of what it looks like when this happens. The Learn More link takes you to a document reviewing the main suggestions on next steps.
We hope that these context specific additions to the search experience will help you get the most of your search time on American Ancestors.
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or suggestions for the database search experience. We are always happy to hear from you!