Research Made Elementary

By Ed Tallent

Holmes One Search - you helped name it, now you can use it and help improve it! Your classmate who recommended the name Holmes sees it as a search tool with the ability to track down even the most obscure books in the furthest reaches of the library.

Holmes One Search, introduced to the Boston College community this fall, is designed to make searching the library collections easier and more productive. It is a new search and discovery tool for the Quest Library Catalog, databases, and other digital collections.


We are starting with FOUR good reasons to use Holmes and we'd like to hear yours.

1) One stop shopping: search for books, articles, videos, e-books, images, data and more from the same interface and location. The BC collections include Quest with added records for images, local BC collections, and e-books from the University of Michigan. The BC collections will continue to expand in size and variety, so stay tuned. You can also use Holmes to find your Course Reserves readings.

After you search the BC Collections, there is no need to navigate to a different page of the library web site to search for journal articles. Simply click the Articles/Databases tab, choose a subject from the drop-down menu, and run the same (or new) search. This is a great way to begin your search for articles. Not all databases are currently compatible with Holmes so you will need to access those through the Libraries databases page.

2) Holmes offers "Amazon-like" features, such as spell-checking, recommended searches, book jackets, summaries, book reviews, and a link to Amazon itself for each book. Tag it and review it, too.

3) Too many search results? A broad topic? Holmes makes it easy to narrow and focus your search results. In the left frame of the results screen are a variety of "facets" (author, title topic, language, date, library, etc). Narrow your search by clicking on a facet. Still too many results? Choose another facet! Want to do another search? Check out the Suggested New Searches at the bottom of the page.

4) Save it: save your results in the e-shelf or export records to RefWorks, cell phone, or share it on several social networking sites. Holmes offers many more options for saving your records. You are no longer tied to system or library supplied sites.


Give us feedback on how Holmes One Search is working. It is a system in development and you can help make it better.

From Tucker Margulies, winner of the Rename SuperSleuth: a Search & Discovery Tool Contest:

"I saw the stuff up in the library, it looks good. I like what you guys did with the Sir Author Conan Doyle quote. When I submitted my entry I had both the name Holmes and Sherlock in mind. I liked the parallel between Sherlock Holmes' incredible ability to track down criminals through thick fog with the search tools ability to track down even the most obscure books in the furthest reaches of the library. I used the beta version a few times and it was able to find rare copies of works by Sir Richard Burton from the mid 1800's. That was my basic thinking. Everyone has childhood memories of Sherlock Holmes as a clever detective who always finds the criminal and hopefully soon Holmes search will have the reputation of a tool that always finds the right book."

Ed Tallent, Head Librarian Research & Instructional Services, O'Neill Library