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January 16, 2012
New Search Feature Streamlines Place Results

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (January 16, 2012) – As part of ongoing efforts to improve the usability and usefulness of the Post-Reformation Digital Library (PDRL), the site’s executive editor David Sytsma announced a significant improvement to the site’s browsing and advanced search functionality today.

"One of the difficulties in dealing with early modern sources is the variety of place names," said Systma. "This upgrade takes into account all the variants for the way a particular place might appear and combines the results into a single list."

For instance, the modern name of the city of Zürich might appear in the early modern period as "Tiguri," or with variant other Latin endings (e.g. Tigurum). Since the PRDL depends on the source information from a number of different online libraries, there are typically a significant number of variants for any particular place. The new feature compiles search results, taking into account the variants, and consolidates all the variants under standard place names. Now users of the PRDL can either browse all variants of Zürich when viewing the list of place names or include all variants for Zürich in a single advanced search.

Systma said that the improvement responds to queries from the PRDL user-community, and represents one of the many continuing challenges of the project. "We hope that visitors to our site will continue to help us improve the results by suggesting new features and fixes, as well as helping us correct errors and address missing, incomplete, or incorrect information," he said.

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