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How do I search the database?

General

If you enter more than one word, by default the database will search for records which contain all those words.

To search for a phrase use double quotation marks i.e. "railway station".

Use an asterisk to conduct a wildcard search: for example, rail* will search for rail, rails, railway, railways, etc.

Search

The search box on the top right is a quick search which searches titles and descriptions only.

Advanced search

For more advanced searches, select the Advanced Search button on the menu. Enter a word or words in one or more of the following search options:

Any Text*: To search the whole catalogue (except the RefNo field).

Date: To search for records from a particular year or range of years (i.e. 1975-1981).

Title*: To search the titles of records.

Description*: To search descriptions of records.

Ref No: To search by reference code. Using this facility you can:

  • search for a particular record by typing the exact reference code (i.e. DALTON/1/1)
  • search for all records in a collection by typing in the collection reference code and adding an asterisk (i.e. DALTON*)
  • search within a collection for words and phrases by completing the 'Any Text' field and typing in the 'Ref No' field the collection reference code plus an asterisk

Level: Use the pick list to search for records at a particular level in the catalogue. For instance select:

  • Collection, to search for whole collections
  • Series to search for sections within a collection
  • File to search for individual files within a collection
  • Elections to search the Election Ephemera collections
  • Illustrations to search the main image collections

Term*: Collections and sub-collections have been indexed by subject to highlight the main areas covered by them. Use the Term field to search those index terms.

Fields with an asterisk (*) indicate you can refine the search criteria to search for records:

  • With all the words
  • With at least one of the words
  • Without the words (i.e. use if you are using several search options)

Search results

A search will produce a list of results. This includes reference numbers, titles and dates of records.

First/Previous/Next/Last: Select to scroll through the pages of the list.

Use the picklist in the bottom right corner to select how many results you want to see at a time.

By clicking on the bar containing the field titles, you can sort the hit list by reference number, title or date (unless you have too many hits, in which case it might be better to narrow your search).

Click on an entry to see its detailed catalogue record.

Full descriptions of records

Full descriptions provide detailed information on a record including reference number, title, date, description, access status etc.

The original search terms are highlighted in yellow.

To go back to the search results click "Search results".

First/Previous/Next/Last: Select to scroll through the detailed descriptions of the other records in the search results list.

Above the description for the actual record you can see where the record fits within its collection. Click on one of those levels, to see the full catalogue record for that level.

To see the hierarchy for the entire collection click the reference number. This will take you to the hierarchy browser.

Underneath the record description may be lists of Persons/Organisations and Places associated with that record. Click on the "Code" of these terms to take you to a list of other documents relating to that Person/Organisation/Place.

Hierarchy browser

Most archive collections contain multiple items. Viewing a record in context will give you an overview of a collection and the items placed in it. You can do this by selecting the hierarchy browser for a collection.

To see the hierarchy browser click on the reference number in the full description of the record.

A tree structure will appear, with the option to expand/contract particular sections.

Click on particular entries in the hierarchy browser to see the full descriptions of that record.

Persons/organisations

Many names and organisations mentioned in the catalogue have been indexed.

To search this index select Search for people on the menu.

Enter the name of a person (including their first name and last name where these are known) or the name of an organisation and click search.

A list of results will be produced detailing names of people or organisations according to your search.

Click anywhere in a particular entry on the list to take you to the main index record for that person/organisation. This indicates which catalogue records have material relevant to that person/organisation. Click on any RefNo (reference number) to take you to its full catalogue record.

Places

Many places mentioned in the catalogue have been indexed.

There are exceptions. For example, a place is not indexed if the document relates to a meeting which just happens to be held in that particular place. The names of constituencies in the election ephemera collections are not indexed by place either.

To search the places index select Search for places on the menu.

Enter the name of a place and click Search.

A list of results will be produced detailing the places which relate to your search.

Click anywhere in a particular entry on the list to take you to the main index record for that place. This indicates which catalogue records have material relevant to that place. Click on any RefNo (reference number) to take you to its full catalogue record.

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