Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Looking for Local History: Using Our Digital Collections: Finding People


There are a few ways to go about finding people in our Digital Collections. You can use Keyword Search, Advanced Search, or Click & Search. There are reasons for using each one, and I will go through them here. 



Keyword Search

Using the Keyword Search is your basic catch-all search, just like an internet search engine. Simply type in what you are looking for and you’ll receive your results. The Keyword Search searches all available fields including Name, Description, Title, Collection, etc.  

The main page of our Digital Collections is the Keyword Search. Should you navigate away from the page, you can return to it either by clicking “Home” or “Keyword Search” from the left-hand buttons.

To find people using Keyword Search: 

1.       In the box on the main page, enter the name you are looking for. Putting quotes around the name will search for ONLY that phrase – exactly as you’ve typed it. This is not really recommended when searching for names, as often times maiden names, nicknames, and other spellings will be excluded from your results. 

2.       On the right hand side, there is a box with options for narrowing your search. You can search for only records with images by clicking the button labeled “Only records with images. 

3.       You can also search specific content sections in our database. If you’re not sure what you’re looking for, it’s recommended to search “All Content”. To search one or more specific sections, click the box next to the section you wish to search. 

4.       Click the Search button and your results will appear on the next page. To view the item record, click on the text link. To view only the image, click on the thumbnail and it will pop up into a new window as a larger image.


Click & Search 

Using the Click & Search is a fun way to peruse the Digital Collections. It is also helpful when finding people if you aren’t sure of the spelling of a name or have limited information. It is also fun just to browse! 

To find people using Click & Search: 

1.       Click on the left-hand button labeled “Click & Search.”

2.       You will see rows labeled different things, all with letters of the alphabet following them. In the row labeled “People”, select the letter of the last name of the person you are researching.

3.       A dropdown box will appear. Click on the down arrow and make your selection.

4.       Your search results will appear on the next page. To view the item record, click on the text link. To view only the image, click on the thumbnail and it will pop up into a new window as a larger image.

Advanced Search

Using Advanced Search is helpful if you want to search specific fields for names or you have other parameters you wish to use to narrow down your results.

To find people using Advanced Search

1.       Click on the left-hand button labeled “Advanced Search.”

2.       You will see different fields you search. Each of these boxes searches the database in the specific field labeled to the left. Entering a name in each box will search ONLY that field in our database for that name. As in Keyword Search you can use quotation marks to search for specific phrases.


3.       Enter names and other information you wish to search by in the boxes. Choose which parameter you wish for your results to sort by clicking the radio button next to the box.

4.       As in Keyword Search, you can limit your results to records with images only, and choose which section/s you wish to search (or search All Content). Click the Search button and your results will appear on the next page. To view the item record, click on the text link. To view only the image, click on the thumbnail and it will pop up into a new window as a larger image.


Tip: If narrowing your results in Advanced Search based on date, you have two options:

1.       You can enter a specific date (format: YYYY/MM/DD; YYYY/MM; or YYYY) in the box labeled “Date”. This will search for that specific number in either the Date field, or the Year Range fields. It will NOT however include dates that fall into a range with numbers other than the one you typed in. For example, if you are searching with the year 1914 in the date field, you would get records with a Year Range 1914-1918 but NOT 1913-1918, even though 1914 falls within that range.

2.       You can use the Year Range feature in the Advanced Search by entering in your “Start Date” and “End Date.” This will give you results with dates within that range. This is the recommended method. 


Things to Know 

·         Generally, women are listed by their married name. However, their maiden name is included in their full name listing  (if known) and is therefore searchable using Keyword and Advanced Search. 

·         From any page on our Digital Collections you can click the button on the left-hand side labeled “Help” for more information.

·         When viewing the Full Record of an item you can click on a name and then click on “Related Records” to view all Records with that name. This is just like finding the name through “Click & Search.”





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