How do I search the catalogue?

Quick search

On this site, the quick search is searching across the title and description fields. Where more than one term is entered, the default is an AND search.

Quick Search searches for words in the Title and Description fields of the Catalogue database. (It is possible to configure the Quick Search to search different fields in the Catalogue database and even certain fields in other databases.)

+ represents Boolean And, meaning the search result must include this word
- represents Boolean Not, meaning the search result must exclude this word
| represents Boolean Or, meaning the search result may include this word

Place one of these symbols before a word or phrase to apply it. If no symbols are used, Boolean 'And' is assumed.

Example:
Railway -Station
Searches all configured fields for the word 'Railway'. Excludes any records with the word 'Station' from the search results.
Typing a field name followed by a colon then a search term, means only that particular field will be searched. If no field names are specified, all configured fields are searched.

Example:
Title:Railway
Searches for the word ‘Railway’ in the Title field only.

Example:
Railway
Searches all configured fields for the word 'Railway'. Take care when entering search words/phrases to ensure you get the intended results.

Example:
Title:Railway Station Searches for records which have the word ‘Railway’ in the Title field and the word 'Station' in ANY configured field. Use (double) quotes around a search term to return exact matching phrases.

Example:
"Railway Station"
Searches all configured fields only for the exact phrase 'Railway Station' i.e. the two words together with a space between, 'Station' following 'Railway'.

Example:
Railway Station
Searches all configured fields for the words 'Railway' and 'Station' anywhere i.e. not necessarily next to each other with 'Station' following 'Railway'.

Advanced search
By default the search will look for the word or words you have entered. You can however choose to change the default search criteria by clicking Refine Search Criteria. There are three ways of refining the search option:

  • With all the words

  • With at least one of the words

  • Without the words

The field may also link to a separate authority file e.g. Terms. To search in this field, you can either:

  • type a word into the Term search field and click Search

  • type a word into the Term search field and click the [Terms] button to the right of the field.

If the term you have entered exists in the authority file the term will be displayed along with any broader, narrower, related terms. It is then possible to browse across other terms. When you click Select, the term currently selected will copy across to the Advanced Search screen. If the term you have entered does not exist in the authority file you will have the option to either go back to the Advanced Search screen or browse all the top level terms.

Bookmarks
When you view a full record you will see options to Add, View or Delete Bookmarks.

The bookmark allows you to bookmark or flag a record for viewing later in the same search session.

To bookmark a record, simply click Add Bookmark. If the record already has a bookmark then Delete Bookmark will display instead.

Clicking View Bookmark at any time will list in full record view all records currently bookmarked. This allows the user to review a specific list of records or to print them off.

Advanced Search
Unlike quick searches, advanced searches do not require you to enter command syntax such as the Boolean symbols or specify field names. Instead follow the on-screen annotations next to and inside the entry boxes. They guide you to perform searches for records containing all the words entered, records containing at least one of the words entered or records without the words entered. Boolean 'And' is assumed, for example if you enter Train in the Title field and Station in the Description field, only records containing both 'Train' and 'Station' (in their respective fields) will be found, records containing just one of these words will not be shown in the search results.

Any text
Use this field to search across all the text fields in the entire database. You can enter any word or phrase here just as you would in a web search engine like Google. For example, to find out if we have the records of a particular Westminster parish or business, enter the name here and click on the Search button at the bottom of the screen

Title
Use this field to search across the entries in the title field of all of our records. This should give you rather more specific results than those you would get using the "any text" search

Category
This is a tool to help you to browse our collections to see if we have a particular type of material. For example, if you want to see information about the collections of wills and probate records which we hold, select “Wills and probate documents” from this list and click on Search

Prints and Photographs
If you only want to search for images select 'Prints and Photographs' from the Category field and click on Search.

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