ABCS Search Support

Here on the search support page we share some information designed to help you use the search function effectively. Scroll down to read a brief description of each search method, answers to some questions posed by our users and a form to ask your own questions.

Available Search Methods

The various search systems employed on this site allow you to quickly select from certain designations. For a more thorough explanation of each search method, please read the detailed information on the search information page.

Each annotation has been assigned some of the over 100 different category designations. Using the category search method allows you to check boxes next to the available designations to quickly obtain a list of all annotations that refer to or focus specifically on your area of interest. The resulting list of relevant annotations can further be limited by resource type, availability, publication date range and whether or not the resource is a church sanctioned publication.

Each annotation has been designated with at least three of around 60 different keywords (or phrases). Just like the category search, a keyword search involves checking boxes next to available keywords. The keyword search results display all annotations that have been assigned that keyword. Results can be further limited by resource type, availability, publication date range and whether or not the resource is a “church sanctioned” publication. 

The advanced search allows you to select from every available designation on a single page by checking boxes. This function is handy when you are looking for very specific information and need the ability to mix and match subjects, keywords and additional designations (like resource type, availability, publication date range, etc.) in one search submission. 

The standard search allows you to enter one or more terms in a standard search box. This function is useful when the terms you are looking for are not included in those we have designated in our lists of subjects or keywords. 

Search Questions and Answers

Here we share answers to some questions posed by our users. We’re constantly adding to this list, so don’t forget to check back from time to time.

When I run a “Limit” search based on a number of specifications, why do I get a null result?

Trying to get "too specific" with limit queries either on the advanced search page or keyword / category search pages can easily mean you end up with a null result.


For example, a majority of annotations relate to Mary Baker Eddy, so running a limit query using "Mary Baker Eddy" with one or two other categories / keywords will probably yield several results. But only a few annotations relate to "Christian Science and Architecture" and fewer still relate to "Judaism and Christian Science." So a limit search for those two terms will not yield any results, since no annotations relate to both "Christian Science and Architecture" and "Judaism and Christian Science."


To find a very specific result, we suggest using the advanced search, starting by selecting just one or two categories (subjects, people, organizations, or controversies) and then adding your limiting factors one at a time.


Additionally, you can use the standard search function to look for several specific terms embedded in the annotation text itself using simple syntax (and, or).

How can I find older resources with no ISBN, ISSN, or DOI?

Some of the resources we've annotated are very hard to find, especially ones that are decades old.


Many books published before 1970 do not have ISBNs.


Many other resources that were published years ago may not have standard identifying numbers either (like a DOI or an ISSN).


If a resource is redily available, we've tried to provide you with the information you'll need to find it.


If you are looking for an older book that is difficult to find, we recommend starting with BookFinder is a very useful online tool that we use frequently.


If you are looking for old articles, pamphlets, papers or similar, try a Google search or check out the Mary Baker Eddy Library.

Contact search support.

Lingering questions about search methods? Think a resource could be better categorized? Have a suggestion about the order in which annotations display in standard search results? Please use the form below to contact search support. (All fields are required. We can usually respond within 48 hours.)

Know of a resource that might be useful to include in the Annotated Bibliography web app? Click here to access our “Suggest a Resource” page.