GEMMS: Gateway to Early Modern Manuscript Sermons

Search Frequently Asked Questions

Why does my search yield 0 results?

For full-text searches, try broadening your search by reducing the number of search terms or using synonyms. Variant spellings of names are common in manuscripts from this period. Try alternate spellings if your first search fails. Date searching is complicated because many sermons are undated and can only be assigned to very broad date ranges. For an advanced search that returns 0 results it may help to select fewer search parameters.

How do I narrow results?

Currently it is not possible to search within your results. We hope to be able to offer advanced searching at a later date.

Are there plans for an online search tutorial for the website?

We hope to provide an online tutorial at a later date. Please check back.

Is there a guide for searching?

Yes, the Search Guide is under the Resources menu

Why can't I open linked URLs on the website?

Some sites require subscriptions. If you belong to a subscribing institution, you will be able to access these sites through your institution.

Can I search by sermons keywords? Why not?

A full text keyword search will look for words that appear within the item record, including any word in the title and in the description provided by the contributor of the record. Because there are no transcriptions of sermons within the database, it is not possible to search within the sermons themselves. We have not supplied keywords to describe the content of the sermons because this would require reading each sermon. Much of the handwriting is difficult to decipher, making this an extremely time-consuming task for which we do not have the resources. We have enabled searching through the most commonly used access points (including names, places, occasions, and biblical texts, when the information is available).

Why are some fields blank?

Fields remain blank when the manuscript itself and other sources such as cataloguing records do not provide the information. For example, many sermons and sermon notes cannot be attributed to individual preachers. Possibly some of this information may become available as other contributors provide information from their own research.

Why is some metadata incomplete?

Some information was not available either from the manuscript itself or from the cataloguing record for the item. For example, many preachers are only named by their surnames. Many sermons have little or no information about when and where they were preached, and even by whom. We have provided as much information as we currently have for each record, and we anticipate that as other contributors add data, some records will be filled in with more complete information.

Can I change how results are displayed?

Yes, you can sort search results by clicking on the column header. Holding "shift" while you click will allow you to sort on multiple columns.

Can I download my search results?

Yes, if you click on the “Download Search Results” button beside the number of search results for an Advanced Search, the system with generate an Excel document with selected fields (including sermon or report title, manuscript title and shelfmark, repository, preacher(s) if known, and extent) from the results.

Is there someone I can contact for technical assistance?

Please use the contact button at the bottom of the website to request assistance.

Is there someone I can contact for research assistance?

Please use the contact button at the bottom of the website to request assistance.