Sunday, May 13, 2012

Looking for Local History: Using our Digital Collections: Searching By Date


Searching for specific dates is a useful tool when researching. We recommend that you utilize Advanced Search when looking for certain dates and time periods. Although, Keyword Search and Click & Search have their place, and we will cover how to use them in searching for dates as well. 


Things to Know:

-          Our dates are formatted as follows:
o   YYYY/MM/DD
o   YYYY/MM
o   YYYY

-          Sometimes we only know about what time a photograph or object is from; as in, circa 1920. These are dated as follows:
o   YYYY ca. (e.g. 1923 ca.)
o   YYYYs (e.g. 1920s)

-          Some items in the collections do not have specific dates, but merely ranges (oftentimes, broad ranges.) This is why searching with the Year Range function in Advanced Search is the recommended method (see below.)


Advanced Search 

1.       Click on the “Advanced Search” button on the left-hand side. Enter any non-date specific information you want to search for in the appropriate boxes. 

2.       When searching for dates with Advanced search, you have two options: 

a.       You can enter a specific date (see above formats) 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.  

b.      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. 

3.       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. 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.


Keyword Search 

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.  

Using Keyword Search for dates will bring you some interesting results. With Keyword Search you can search outside of our Date format. Sometimes the date in the Description field of an item will include the name of a month (e.g. October) instead of its numerical form. (It should be noted you can search for this in Advanced Search by entering the month name into the “Description” search field.) 

To Use Keyword Search: 

1.       In the box on the main page, enter the date or text you are looking for. Putting quotes around the text will search for ONLY that phrase – exactly as you’ve typed it. 

2.       As in Advanced 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.


Click & Search 

Using the Click & Search is a fun way to peruse the Digital Collections. When searching for date specific information in our database, it’s a good way to see what is available within certain time periods. 

To Use 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 “Date”, click on “#”. Find the date range you are looking for and click the link.  

3.       A dropdown box will appear. Click on the down arrow and make your selection. As you can see some years have a lot of specific dates, and others not as many.  

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.

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