Help / FAQ

This site contains documents related to Yachats Public Document Library.  Most documents are in PDF format that can be searched using the Advanced Search or using the Document Index page.  Some documents are quite large and may take a long time to download depending on the speed of your connection.  A document can be classified according to multiple search criteria.  These can include agendas, financial records, meeting minutes, City forms, newsletters, commission and council records, and many other document types.  Note that the database search results includes the document size so you can consider that factor before electing to open or download the item.

The Document Index:
Document Index organizes documents according to the type (source) and sorts them by date.  If you know the type of document you want (agenda, minutes, audit report, study, etc.) you can use the index at the top of the page to jump to the appropriate category.  Within each category documents are ordered by date with the newest dates at the top.  At the end of most sections there is a link back to the index to facilitate navigation.  Links are shown in a light blue and underlined.  Once you visit a link, the color changes to a gold or amber color. 

Document Search:
The document search uses a database with a full-text query capability.  The home page search allows you to use any combination of words to query for a match.  The more words you include in your search, the fewer hits you will have.  After examining your search results, you can elect a modified search which retains all your original search criteria or a new search which wipes the original criteria clean to start fresh.  You can also use the Advanced Search option for more complex searches employing multiple criteria.  The Advanced Search provides a clearer sense of what the search will consider and it is easy to modify your search after seeing the initial results.

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Advanced Search:

The Advanced Search allows you to fine tune your searches.  If the initial search results in too many responses, use the date, categories or some of the other options to limit the search range.  For example, if you know that a document was related to the council discussion in 2003, you might enter a date range starting in Jan. and ending in Dec. of 2003 as shown in the image above.  Use the Modify Search option to preserve your initial search criteria while adding or removing other filters.

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Database Search Results:

The current default for search results displays the first 20 records sorted by Title.  The total number of records located is displayed on the upper right side of the search results.  It is possible to change the search results by clicking on the heading name in the dark blue bar at the top of the search results.  If the default search is by Title and you want to sort by size, click on the word Size at the top of the column.  This should sort documents in ascending order.  Clicking size again will reverse the order.  Experiment with this until you are comfortable with the search results for each search option.

Clicking on the document title opens the record in a new window.  Clicking on the down arrow on the right side of the screen, save a copy of the record on your computer.  Clicking on the magnifying glass on the right displays additional data about the record.  The number of Downloads records the number of times the document has been opened or saved.

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Most Popular and Most Recent Documents

The most popular and recent document results displayed at the bottom of the Advanced Search page are default references provided so visitors have a sense of what other people are reading and which documents have been added most recently.  Each time the Advanced Search page is accessed, this information is updated.

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Q: What is the single most helpful thing I should know before using the database?
A: Mastering the options on the Advanced Search page will greatly improve the speed and effectiveness of your queries.  Increasing the number of filters in your query will narrow the number of hits.  If your first attempt produces zero results, simplify your query.

Q: Is there anything I should know about the files before beginning?
A: One of the best sources of information about the City comes from the packets that are produced for commission and council meetings.  Packets can be large so locating a particular document can require a good deal of effort.  Packet material is added as individual documents so they can be classified and indexed for easier and faster access.  It is common for multiple copies of a document to exist in city records because an issue may appear on several agendas over a period of time.  However, only the most recent version will reside in the document database.

Q: How does the search on the home page work?
A: A copy of the text from each document is stored in the database.  The home page search is a "full-text" search function.  It looks for your key words and provides a list of all the responses that contain the word or words.  Many documents are images (pictures of the original).  Where possible, these have been converted to text using an optical character scanning process.  This is not always 100% successful.  Therefore, the text in the database may be incomplete.  It does reflects the best that was possible with the document files available.  Note that the default behavior of the search engine is to use all of the words you use.  As you add more word to a search, it will narrow the number of hits.

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Q: How does the advanced search work?
A: You are presented with multiple search filters and you may use one or a combination of search criteria.  For example, if you are looking for an item related to the Yachats Comprehensive Plan, you might type "Comprehensive Plan" in the Keywords area.  If the search results produces too many responses, consider adding a date filter for the year or unique terms for the subject or title.

Q: What is keywords on the Advanced Search page?
A: Keywords yields the same results as the home page search.  It looks for a match on all words in the box against the text in the database.  You may include as many words as you wish and the search process ignores punctuation and special characters (-,.~$#@&* etc.).

Q: What is Exclude Words on the Advanced Search page?
A: If your initial search produces a large number of hits and you see a common word you want to exclude from your search, use the modify button to back up and add the word to the Exclude Word area.

Q: What are Control Numbers on the Advanced Search page?
A: Some documents have a reference number that can be helpful in searches.  For example ordinances usually have an ordinance number.  If you know these details, it can speed the search process.

General Questions:
Q: How do I print documents?
A: Once you open a document, you should be able to print using the File / Print option as you would any document.

Q: How do I send a document copy to someone?
A: When you open a document, there should be a copy of the web URL at the top of your browser. Copy this link and you should be able to paste it in an e-mail message. 

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Q: I have a problem, question, or a comment.  How do I contact someone with my issue?
A: You can use the "Comments" button on the menu or any of the links that say "database administrator".  All contacts will receive a response.  Questions about the documents should be sent using the "Comments" button on the menu.  There is a "site administrator" link at the bottom of most pages.  Questions about the web site and all database technical issues should be sent to the "site administrator".

Q: I don't have a computer.  How can I access city documents?
A: The Yachats Library has three public computers available most days.  A friendly library volunteer will be happy to show you how to search for public documents.

Q: Is there anything unusual about the documents in the database?
A: All records in the database are in PDF format.  This makes them universally accessible using a free Adobe Acrobat reader.  It also reduces the file size so they load faster.  Some documents are quite large and can run 100 or more pages. 

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Questions about documents should be sent to the document administrator.  Comments and suggestions about this site can be sent to the site administrator.