Google and Amazon have changed user expectations and behavior with regard to search functionality and have made large result sets and low precision commonplace. However many new systems e.g. those developed for electronic journals, offer highly developed, precise searching options. National bibliographies should offer a range of online features including:

  • Simple keyword searching – although not sufficient for sophisticated users with specific information needs.
  • Advanced searching options – e.g. searching within a particular access point and (implicit or explicit) use of Boolean operators. Provision of online search forms to structure user searches are the most intuitive option
  • Browsing of indexes – to enable the easier formulation of queries, indexes should be available for browsing and chosen values should be transferable to the user search statement
  • Faceted browsing on criteria such as genre, language, target audience is desirable
  • Searching on individual or corporate author names supplemented by name authority control
  • Authority control in online systems- enables and enhances the identifying and finding functions of the catalogue via the use of consistent forms for access points and references from unused forms. In an authority controlled system a user can safely assume all works relating to a specific name will be retrieved together and will be connected via references.

Two important auxiliary functions are related to manipulation of results:

  • Export of results is required when users wish to transfer bibliographic records into different computer applications for customised use (e.g., to compile a bibliography or reference list)
  • Sorting is important for large result sets, which are not unusual for national bibliographies. Several sorting keys should be available e.g. for manifestations:

    • Publication date (increasing and decreasing)
    • Author relationship
    • Publisher
    • Contexts