The Seymour B. Durst Old York Library Collection supports simple and complex searching. At the top of each page, a simple search box allows for searching by keyword terms as well as search phrases using Boolean operators.
Once you have accessed a search results page, you can easily transfer your search to other information sources external to the Durst collection by clicking on the Extended Search button in the top right menu. Available sources include the Avery Index (credentials required), the Brooklyn Historical Society Photographical collection, and New York Public Library’s Digital Collections.
Using AND, OR, and NOT to refine your search
The operator AND narrows your search by instructing the search engine to search only for records containing all the terms in your search. You do not have to type in the word AND; by default all terms entered into the search box become Boolean AND searches. However, you can adjust your search by doing an OR search (broadens the search to include records containing any or all of the terms) or a NOT search (narrows your search by excluding unwanted terms).
You should enter the Boolean operators in capitals. To search for an exact phrase put quotation marks around your search terms.
On the left-hand side of your search results screen, under the heading "Refine Your Search," you will see a set of search terms that apply to your search results, organized by category: format, neighborhood, borough, and city. You can use this section to browse links in a particular category or select a link to refine your search results.
For example, an advanced search for the keyword Waldorf returns a search results page with 187 hits. From that search results page, under Refine Your Search you can browse the list of neighborhoods and select the “Turtle Bay-East Midtown” to find items with Waldorf as a keyword and Turtle Bay-East Midtown as the neighborhood (73 hits).
You can use the asterisk (*) symbol as a wildcard to substitute for one or more characters at the end of a word. Note that this symbol cannot be used at the beginning of a word. For example, astor* will find terms that contain the word Astoria.