How to search

Navigating the site

The menus at the top and left-hand side of the pages provide access to all the pages in the site. In addition, most pages will have a 'breadcrumb' list of links at the top of the page which allow you to return to the advanced search form, or to your search results.

The catalogue has two search options: Quick Search and Advanced Search.

Quick Search

The Quick Search box is located in the top right hand corner of the page and will search across two of the fields used in our catalogue: title and description (see our glossary for the meaning of these field terms).

Simply enter your search term, being a word or phrase that you would expect to find in the title or description fields, and click search.

The quick search can sometimes produce a large number of results, which can be difficult to work with. The advanced search offers extra options (such as narrowing results by date) and is generally the more useful option.

Advanced Search

Click on the 'Advanced Search' button in the menu at the top of the page to open the search form.

The advanced search form includes a number of fields which can be used to search across. It is best to start with terms in just one or two fields. If this returns too many results, you can add extra terms to narrow down your search. In this way, you are less likely to miss any useful results.

Any TextSearches across all available text fields
AccNoAccession number for an entire collection
DocRefNoDocument reference number for a specific item or record
DateDate an item or collection of items was created
TitleA short description of an item or collection such as ‘Marriage register’
DescriptionFurther detail on the contents of an item or collection
LevelThe position of a record in the hierarchy (see 'Tips and tricks' for a description of levels and the way we catalogue)
Place CodeA short code used to identify the place to which a record relates (see our 'Tips and tricks' for examples of using the Place Codes

The AnyText, Title and Description fields also have the option to 'Refine Search Criteria' which lets you specify how your search terms are used. See our 'Tips and tricks' for examples of using this option.

'Search Results' page

Results which match your search are shown on the search results page in the form of a 'hitlist', which lists the Reference numbers, level, title and date for each record.

  • The total number of matches is shown at the top of the list, along with controls to change the number of results per page, and to navigate through all the results.
  • You can sort the results by click on any of the column headings.
  • Click on any of the results to see more information on that particular record.
  • The search word or words you used will be highlighted in yellow.
  • The results can include records from any level in our catalogues, from Collection level down to Item level

'Record View' page

Opening the record view for one of your results will show you all the information relating to that entry in the catalogue.

  • At the top and bottom of this page are controls to navigate through all your results in order.
  • Below this bar is displayed the contect for the current record. This shows the position or context of the record within its collection and can give additional information on where the record came from, or who produced it.
  • The main part of the page lists all the fields which contain information on the record. The number of fields will vary from record to record, but certainly all item level records should have a DocRefNo, Title, Date and Level as a minimum.
  • Make sure to note down the DocRefNo if you want to view or refer back to the record. Quoting this number will help us quickly identify the correct record.

'Collection Browser' page

The collection browser shows the hierarchy or tree which forms the basis for our catalogues and allows you to browse through a full collection. After finding a record which matches your search, it can often be useful to browse the full collection, to understand where that record comes from, and possibly find other related records which may also be useful.

  • From the Record View page, click on the title to open the collection browser.
  • The hierarchy will be opened to show where that record belongs in the structure.
  • You can open or close any part of the hierarcy by clicking on the Plus or Minus symbol at the start of each line.
  • If you click on the text for any line, the record view for that entry in the catalogue will be opened.
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