Collections catalog search help

General search help

The Adler Planetarium online collections catalog has several search options. For all options, enter one or more search terms in the boxes provided.

Capital letters and punctuation are not necessary. For personal names, "last name first" order is not necessary.

Use the @ symbol or an asterisk (*) to truncate a word in your search. For instance, a search for "astro@" or “astro*” will retrieve results for astronomy, astronomical, astronaut, and astrology.

Click on the "Search" button to execute the search.

Click on the "Advanced" button to expand to the advanced search options.

Click on the "Reset form" button to clear the search terms.

Simple search

The simple search option allows users to conduct a keyword-type search in all of the following fields at once:
  • Title/object name
  • Description
  • Author/maker/creator
  • Date
  • Subject
  • Place of production
  • Media/material type
  • Accession number/Call number
All terms entered in the main search box will be combined using the AND Boolean operator. This means that the search results will contain records that have all search terms entered. For example:

A search for "sundial Martin" will yield results with sundial in any keyword field AND Martin in any keyword field.

Advanced search

Advanced search allows users to search in any combination of the following fields:
  • Title/object name
  • Description
  • Author/maker/creator (individual)
  • Author/maker/creator (organization)
  • Early date
  • Late date
  • Subject
  • Place of production
  • Media/material type
  • Accession number/Call number

As a default, typing in multiple boxes yields results using the AND Boolean operator. For example:

A search for "sundial" in the Title field and "Martin" in the Maker (individual) field, will produce results with "sundial" in the title AND "Martin" in the Maker field.

The icons to the left of the Advanced search boxes can help customize a search:

This icon is equivalent to the Boolean operator AND. For example:

If you type "sundial" in the Title field and "Martin" in the Maker (individual) field, your search will produce results of catalog records with "sundial" in the title AND "Martin" in the Maker field.

This icon is equivalent to the Boolean operator NOT. For example:

If you type "sundial" in the Title field and then select NOT for "Martin" in the Maker field, your search will produce results of catalog records with "sundial" in the title, but NOT "Martin" in the Maker field.

This icon is equivalent to the Boolean operator OR. For example:

If you type "sundial" in the Title field and then select OR for "Martin" in the Maker field, your search will produce results of catalog records with "sundial" in the title OR "Martin" in the Maker field. In general, OR will provide the most results. OR is useful for combining similar terms like "orrery OR planetarium OR planetaria."

The index icon on the right of each search box can help you select your search terms:

Use the index icon to select from the list of existing indexed terms.

Results filters

After you conduct a search, you have the option to narrow search results using results filters. Check the boxes for the filters you want to apply, and click on "Submit." To clear filters, click on "Clear filters" and then click "Submit". The following filters are available:

  • On display

    Check this box to show only objects that are currently on display or exhibition at the Adler.
  • Archives

    Check this box to show only results from the archives. These results include archival collections and files/folders within archival collections. The Adler's archival collections relate primarily to the 19th and 20th centuries, and contain manuscripts and printed materials.
  • Library

    Check this box to show only results from the library. These results include rare books, modern books, and periodicals. These materials cover a wide range of topics on the history of astronomy and historic scientific instruments. Rare book collection strengths include celestial atlases, books on comets, early works on instruments, and astronomical and cosmological texts.
  • Museum

    Check this box to show only results from the museum collection. These results include three-dimensional objects in the historic scientific instrument collection and the works on paper collection. The historic scientific instrument collection contains astronomical instruments and models from the 12th through the 20th centuries. Strengths include astrolabes, sundials, and telescopes. The works on paper collection includes individual maps, prints, and bookplates. Strengths include comet and eclipse broadsides, portrait prints, and celestial charts.
  • Has image

    Check this box to show only results with an image available.

Bookmarks

Bookmarking

On the Search results page, you have the option to bookmark any records. Either click the white check-box next to each record to select individual records, or click the "Select all" at the top of the results. Then click "Bookmark selected records."

Within a Detailed record summary, you can bookmark an individual record by clicking on "Bookmark this record" at the top right.

You can build your set of bookmarked records across multiple searches.

Viewing bookmarks

To view your bookmarked records, click on "View bookmarks" from the Search results page. In Detailed record summary, click on "View bookmarked records." This will take you to the Bookmarks page.

Bookmark actions

On the Bookmarks page, the Actions column on the left allows for printing, emailing, or downloading a .pdf list of the selected bookmarks. First, select the bookmarks to be printed, emailed, or downloaded by clicking on the check-box for individual records or clicking on "Select all" above the list. Then, click on the desired action ("Print selected," "Email selected," or "Download report").

Be sure to print or email your bookmarked records before leaving the website, as your bookmarked records will be cleared at the end of your search session.

Clearing bookmarks

You must clear any bookmarks from the Bookmarks page. Click on the white check-box for individual records or click on "Select all" above the list. Then, click "Remove from bookmarks" in the Actions column to the left.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Q: I got 0 results for my search – what should I do?

A: Remember to check spelling (or try an alternate spelling). You can also try a simple keyword search before doing an advanced search, try using fewer search terms, or try truncating your terms with an asterisk (*).

Q: What's the difference between early date and late date in the Advanced search?

A: You should use the Advanced date search fields very carefully. "Early date" and "Late date" are not used for creating searches on date ranges. If you are unsure of which date field to use, try only the "Early date field."

"Early date" and "Late date" are terms most useful when searching for museum objects. Many museum objects have inexact dates of production. So, an artifact with a date of "17th century" also has an "Early date" of 1600 and a "Late date" of 1699. Searching for "Early date" 1600 and "Late date" 1699 will return museum results of all objects with dates of exactly 1600-1699, but not objects with dates such as 1600-1625 or 1690-1699.

For library books and archival collections, it is best to enter a date in only one of the date fields. For library books, "Early date" and "Late date" both search the same publication date. For example, searching for "Early date" 1600 and "Late date" 1699 will not return book results of 1600 through 1699. Instead, the search would result in books with a publication year of 1600 AND 1699, returning no results.

Q: Why do book authors’ names not appear exactly as they do in the Library of Congress Name Authority?

A: Formats of names in the online collections catalog have been designed in order to provide consistency across the museum, library, and archive sections. To see the Library of Congress authorized name for a person or organization, see the Library of Congress Authorities search tool at: http://authorities.loc.gov/cgi-bin/Pwebrecon.cgi?DB=local&PAGE=First

Q: Where can I get more general information about the Adler's collections?

A: Please see the main collections page on the Adler's website for collection strengths: http://www.adlerplanetarium.org/collections/

Q: How can I see objects that are listed as "on display"?

A: Visit the museum during open hours. If you would like to know more information about where in the museum an object is displayed, email astrohistory@adlerplanetarium.org at least one week in advance of your visit.

Q: Can I see collections items in my search results that are not currently on display?

A: The Adler's Webster Institute for the History of Astronomy is open to researchers by appointment. Depending on the nature of the materials requested and staff scheduling, it is sometimes necessary to schedule an appointment up to two months in advance. Due to the need to transport materials from storage locations, you will be required to submit a list of requested materials at least two weeks in advance of your scheduled visit. Email astrohistory@adlerplanetarium.org for a Research Request Form.

Additional questions

If you have questions that have not been answered by the Help page content, please contact the Adler's Webster Institute for the History of Astronomy at astrohistory@adlerplanetarium.org.