Search Tips

This page includes information for users regarding the searching and browsing of archival descriptions in Discover Archives.

1. BROWSING
2. BASIC SEARCH
3. ADVANCED SEARCH
4. SEARCHING A SPECIFIC FONDS, COLLECTION OR MANUSCRIPT COLLECTION
5. FILE AND ITEM LISTS
6. PDF FINDING AIDS
7. READING ARCHIVAL DESCRIPTIONS

1. BROWSING

In Discover Archives, it is possible to browse descriptions, persons and organizations, and archival institutions. The categories can be browsed under the Browse by heading located in the left menu of the pages or by clicking on the Browse button next to the Search Box on the top left side of the page.


Note: Browsing archival descriptions will return top level descriptions only.


Browsing
Browsing




Archival Descriptions: Users can browse all descriptions in Discover Archives. To do this, simply click on the Archival Descriptions link. Users can also limit their selection by Archival Institution, Creator, Name and Level of Description using the subheadings area in the left browsing menu.


Archival Descriptions




Archival Descriptions




Archival Institutions: Users can restrict their browsing to a specific repository using Discover Archives. When a user clicks on Archival Institution, icons of all institutions using the platform will appear. Simply click on the institution whose holdings you would like to browse.


Archival Institutions




People and Organizations: Users can restrict their browsing to people and organizations that are associated with a specific fonds or collection by selecting the People and Organizations link. The user will be presented with an alphabetical listing of people and organizations. Users can limit the results by clicking on a specific entity type, (i.e. Person, Corporate body, Family), under the Entity type heading in the left menu. Users may also want to do a general search for the person, family or organization to discover descriptions that don't have the person, family or organization added as an access point.


People and Organizations




2. BASIC SEARCH

To conduct a basic search of the records held in Discover Archives, users can type a query in the Search box located at the top of the screen. The search will return results from all archival institutions using Discover Archives.


Basic Search




Matching terms for the search will appear.


Basic Search




Results from the search will be shown in the centre area of the page.


Basic Search




Once search results are returned users can limit their results using the facets in the left menu.


Basic Search


3. ADVANCED SEARCH

To conduct an advanced search, click on the Advanced search option in the Search box.


Advanced Search


Users can limit their searches to the following fields using the advanced search option:
Title
Archival History
Scope and Content
Extent and Medium
Name access points (people and organizations)
Identifier
Reference code

Advanced Search

Users can combine and narrow searches by conducting a Boolean search by using the following terms and symbols:

  • AND or &&
  • To combine search terms to narrow your search.

  • Advanced Search AND





  • OR or ||
  • To combine search terms to broaden your search.

  • Advanced Search OR





  • NOT or !
  • To exclude search terms to narrow your search.

  • Advanced Search NOT



  • *
  • An * placed after a term will return variations on a search term.

  • " "
  • Terms placed in the " " must be present in the search results.

  • ?
  • Single character wildcard.

  • -
  • Terms placed after the - must not be in the result.

  • +
  • Terms placed after the + must be in the result.

Users can also narrow searches by applying filters in the following categories:


  • Repository (archival institution)
  • Will limit the search to the holdings of a specific repository
  • Example - University of Toronto Archives and Records Management Services.

  • Advanced Repository





  • Top level description (i.e. fonds, collection, manuscript collection)
  • Will limit the search to a specific fonds, collection or manuscript collection
  • Example - UTSC Photographic Services collection

  • Advanced Top Level Description





  • General Material Designation
  • Note: Limiting your search will only return results from University of St. Michael's College, John M. Kelly Library, Special Collections
    Advanced General Material Designation





  • Level of description
  • Will limit the results to a specific level of description (fonds, collection, manuscript collection, sous fonds, series, subseries, file, item).
    Level of Description



4. SEARCHING A SPECIFIC FONDS, COLLECTION OR MANUSCRIPT COLLECTION

To select a specific fonds, collection or manuscript collection type its title in the Search box. Alternatively, a user can navigate to Advanced search and limit result to the specific fonds, collection or manuscript collection in the Top-level description field.


Searching within a fonds




Select the fonds, collection, or manuscript collection from the search results. To search within the fonds, collection, or manuscript collection click on the Quick search option in the left menu. Type in a keyword, identifier, title, etc. to search the fonds, collection, or manuscript collection.


Searching within a fonds


5. FILE AND ITEM LISTS


Users can generate lists of files and items for their research. File and item lists include basic information including reference code, title, date and access restrictions.


A file and item report will only be generated for the fonds, series, or file you have selected.


To generate a report for a fonds, collection or manuscript collection series, subseries, select Reports on the right menu.


Reports




Reports




Lists can be sorted by Reference code, Title or Date (based on start date).


Reports
Reports


6. PDF FINDING AIDS

Institutions have the ability to generate PDF finding aids for their archival description. Users can then download a copy of the finding aid if it has already been generated. A download option will be available if a PDF finding aid has been generated for the archival description.


PDF Finding Aid


7. READING ARCHIVAL DESCRIPTIONS

Archival descriptions are hierarchical and information at the different levels go from the general to the specific. At the fonds, collection or manuscript collection level, the description will provide an overview of all the material in the fonds, collection or manuscript collection. The series description provides and overview of records grouped together because they were created as a result of a similar function or activity, record type or subject. A file description provides information about material housed in a file or files that are related by use or by topic.


Reading Finding Aids