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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Alexander Street Press

Illinois subscribes to Alexander Street Press's award-winning online collections, including streaming video, audio, and other multimedia for scholarly research, teaching, and learning.

Search Tips

While searching within Alexander Street Press collections, consider these search tips:

  1. Keep searches simple and specific. For example, to find a Washboard band, you only need to enter: washboard.
  2. Try double-checking your spelling before giving up a search.
  3. Case and punctuation are not important, but word order is. Type in your search terms in the order in which you would expect to see them to get the best results.
  4. You can enter more than one term in each search box, but be aware that your search results will have to match both terms. For instance, if you wish to find all results that have both the piano and the harmonica, use the Basic search box and enter: piano harmonica. If you want every result matching piano as well as every result matching harmonica, do separate searches.
  5. When using the Advanced Search interface, try to use the most appropriate term box for your search.
  6. Enter terms in the singular, e.g. "opera" not "operas."
  7. If your advanced search produces no results, try reducing the number of search terms entered. The search function with Alexander Street Press uses Boolean AND searching. Using OR does not work. So, if you type in more than one term, the results will include only hits that have both of those terms.

You not only can search transcripts, but documents (as images) as well.

The Search Bar

You can use the main search bar at the top of the ASP interface to search for videos and other files. (If you are in the video or audio player, simply click on "Show Navigation and Search" at the top of the screen to open up the search bar and navigation again.) You may select a discipline to search, or you may search "All Disciplines."

Note that each discipline usually draws from more than one collection. To find out what collections are included within a particular discipline, click on a particular discipline from the "Disciplines" drop-down menu.

Say you want to listen to some washboard bands. "Washboard" is a fairly specific search term, so a basic search might work well. Below is a screenshot of search results for the word "washboard." There are over 300 results, and the top results in the list are relevant as they contain washboard music.

You could narrow the results further by selecting a discipline or disciplines from the left side of the screen. You might also want to narrow the search by Format (Audio) or Content type (Music recording). (Either will work; both will give the same results in this case.)


How to search


In the upper left hand corner, select the Discipline "Music & Performing Arts." Your search results will automatically update. You will get just slightly more than the number of results that there are for "audio" and "music recording." (So, almost all "washboard" results are music recordings.)


Search with filters

You can use the facets on the left to refine your search further if you'd like, or you can browse the current results for a recording that appeals to you!

Advanced Search

If you would like to search within one specific collection or if you would like to search in multiple disciplines, use the Advanced Search feature. If you have very general terms that you are searching, you may want to use the Advanced Search feature or continue to use the facets for narrowing down your search. Otherwise you may get many irrelevant results. 

In the Advanced Search for All Disciplines, you have several options for searching. You can search by words anywhere, title, author/creator, subject, publisher, format, and more.

Advanced search can be helpful if you want to:

  1. Search for a known item
  2. Narrow down your search quickly
  3. Searching using facets unique to a particular collection
  4. Search within a specific collection or search multiple disciplines or collections at once.
  5. Differentiate between the author/creator or performer and the person discussed. For example, you may be interested in a video with second-hand accounts about Miles Davis's life and works, rather than seeing all of the Miles Davis audio recordings in the collection.
  6. Has a real-time search number at the top left that shows you how far you have narrowed your results before you even click search

Advanced Searching