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Search the archives using the Simple Query Tool

No java? - use the text only query tool instead.

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[ Search Text | Search Dates | Current | Verbose Path | Current | Current Path | Selected Paths | Add | Reset | Search]

This browser is not java compliant. Try using the text only query tool instead.

  1. Search Text area: Enter the words you would like to search for. A database entry, ie an archival document description will be matched if it contains all of the specified search words. The query tool is not fully Boolean but defaults to the Boolean Function AND if more than one word is used. For the Boolean function OR please use the Advanced Query Tool. The key thing to remember with the search text is that the more words you add to your query, the fewer results it will return. Hence, if you are having problems with too many results, you should try narrowing down your search by adding more words to make your query more specific, or selecting a folder/sub-folder from the pull-down menu in the 'current path' box, or jointly utilising the text and date criteria boxes, and if you are getting too few results, try using less search words.
    Please note part words are only found where singular text criteria are specified,eg "architect" will find "architects".
  2. Date Restrictions Area: Enter the list of dates you would like the document to refer to here. The archives system allows you to use quite a complex set of search syntax to specify dates. Currently the syntax allowed is as follows:
    • 1875: The simplest format. This will match only documents which mention the exact date '1875'.
    • c1875 or C1875: This feature allows you to search for documents which mention any date within a decade (10 years) of the specified date. For example, any of the above dates would match any date in the range 1865-1885. Make sure there is no space between the 'c'/'C' and the date itself.
    • 17C or 17c: This feature allows you to match dates from any given century. Any of the above search strings would match all dates from 1601-1700. Again, make sure there is no space between the date and the 'c'/'C'. The word 'century' in a date in a database entry may be found by specifying 'century' and the appropriate century number in the Text Criteria box.
    • 1850s or 1800S: Again, this feature allows you to match ranges of dates. The first example (1850s) would match all dates beginning with 185 and having one digit (ie, 1850-1859), while the second will match all dates from 1800-1899. Once more, ensure that there is no space between the numbers of the date and the subsequent 's' character.
    • Month Names: should be specified in the text search area.
  3. Path Selector: Each query you make can search either the whole database, or a portion of it. To search the whole database, you do not need to enter anything more than your search dates and text. However, if you wish to search a portion of the database only, you must use this selector to specify which part(s) of the archive to search.
    If you click on the arrow at the right hand end of the selector, a drop-down list should appear, containing the names of the top-level categories/folders of the archives. If you select one of these categories/folders (by clicking on its entry in the drop-down list), the contents of the path selector will be changed to a list of the sub-folders contained in the recently selected category/folder. Also, the category/folder you have just selected will appear in the Current Path: area. If there are no sub-categories, the path selector will be blank. For an example of use, see the walkthrough section.
    NB. You need to click the add button after selecting a folder or sub-folder.
  4. Verbose mode switch: This selector (turned off by default) allows you to preview the results list of matching database entries, with their path names. If verbose mode is on, a list of the call/accession numbers of all matched documents is produced at the head of the results pages. You can click on these call/accession numbers to view each result in a special 'view single' mode. Be warned, however, as if your query generates a large number of results, each results page will be started by a long list of call/accession numbers, making the output more cluttered.
  5. Current Path panel: This panel is used to aid navigation throughout the database's categories/folders and sub-categories/folders (achieved by using the Path Selector (see above). Each collection you select will appear here, building a list of collections and sub-collections which will last until you use the reset or add buttons. Beware, the currently selected collection is not the one which is visible in this panel once you have selected an item and the drop-down list has disappeared.
  6. Selected Paths panel: Once you have used the add button, your current search path (as displayed in the Current Path panel) will be cleared and copied over to the selected paths panel. This panel is effectively a list of the sections of the archive you wish your query to search through. For further clarification, see the walkthrough section.
  7. Add button: This is the button you use to confirm the path you have selected (using the Path selector and the Current Path panel). Once you press this button, your Current Path will be transferred to the Selected Paths panel, indicating that it will be applied to your query. At the same time, the Path Selector will be reset. Once you have used this process to add as many paths as you desire to your query, click the search button to generate and view your results.
  8. Reset Button: Use this button to clear the Current Path panel, and to reset the Path Selector to its starting state. This may come in useful if you find that you have selected the wrong directory with the Path Selector.
  9. Search Button: This button is the last thing you click during the process of a query. Once you click this button, your Search Text, Dates and Selected Paths will be submitted to the CityArk server, which will generate a page of results for you.
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