The Collaborative Project:Women’s Westward Travels and Narratives

- by Julie Carleton

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After exhausting all known possible Keyword Search approaches, I switched back to the Primary Search, and used the convenient Mrs./Miss in the author field, 1820:1920 in the date field, with different combinations of the Keywords list title field. I kept a running track of each combination of keywords that I used in my Search History list. I also utilized the “&” between words in the title field in order to speed the search process.

The final result of these two searches was a 30-page list of titles. I first deleted irrelevant and duplicate titles. Some titles I crosschecked in the Library of Congress catalog for relevancy. I also crosschecked author/titles in the Primary Search and Keyword Search screens to find all variants in author names. After some whittling down, the held 112 relevant titles, organized alphabetically by the author’s last name. From here I saved this document as Collection List. I also noted when applicable, how many duplicates and/or similar titles were found in the AE Database. This is important, as a significant number of records had variant titles. Where this happened, I ran separate author/title Primary Searches to find all variant titles by that individual. I also used the word wheel in the author field to find variant author headings. Using this Collection list, I began to search each title for holdings information in the Library of Congress catalog. Now I was ready to work more with the authors from the Collection List.

Author Search

I first compiled a list of known authors on my topic at the beginning of the project. Next, after completing an initial run of searches, I did a cross check of all titles in the AED by that author. The word wheel seemed to be the most efficient way to browse variant author’s names. Surprisingly, I did not discover a significant number of titles by the same author. I also checked the author headings under Library of Congress authority headings to find uniform headings. I added relevant titles by same authors as I found them in the LC Catalog.

Conclusion

As I finalize the first part of this project, I am somewhat pleased with the results so far. I have successfully completed several types of searches within the AE Database. My next step is to continue with checking authors on the initial Collection List with the Library of Congress. I will also continue on with a category search in the AED search. After that, I will check in the online book markets, such as ABE Books. I predict that this will continue to be an interesting and educational project.