Help Index

Keyword Search
The keyword(s) that you submit will search by author/creator, subject, people, location, and catalog number all at the same time. The search will look for as many occurrences of each word as it can find, so you can enter as many keywords as you feel are appropriate.

Result Rankings
The search results are ordered by rank, and rankings are computed according to the total number of matches for your keywords in every area.

Hint: If you search for George Washington, records that only contain "George" will be found, and records that only contain "Washington" will be found. Records that contain "George" and "Washington" will be found, and they will normally be ranked highest - even higher than records that contain "Washington, George". For exact phrase matches, put your search in quotation marks.


Advanced Collection Search

Keyword
When searching by keyword in the basic search, you are in fact searching by title, author/creator, subject, people, location, and catalog number all at the same time. If you wish to search by keyword, just fill in the keyword field and click "Search".

Catalog Number
Catalog numbers start with a one or two character designation, followed by a space, and then a four-digit number. Manuscripts start with "MS", Maps start with "M", and Broadsides start with "B". Ex: "MS 0123", "M 0234" or "B 0123".

Title
Enter words that you would expect to be in the title of the records you wish to find.

Author/Creator
Enter the name of a photographer, author, artist, or records creator using the format "Last Name, First Name" -- ex. "Denny, George"

Subject
Enter general search terms (parades, historic buildings, etc), or specific local terms (White House, Lafayette Park, etc.).

People
Enter the name of a person who may be the subject of a photograph, book, manuscript collection, or work of art using the format "Last Name, First Name" -- ex. "Denny, George". It is also recommended to search the Author field when looking for an archives collection by and about a particular person.

Street Address
Street address information is primarily linked to photographs in the online catalog. Where relevant, it has also been linked to other records, such as architectural drawings (archives) or publications (library) that relate to a specific address. Enter information for up to two related addresses in the appropriate fields, using the related drop-down boxes: quadrant, street number (selct a block range), and/or street name. The search results will be listed with the exact match (if available) at the top, followed by the records that most closely match the search criteria.

Neighborhood
To search for any records related to a particular Washington neighborhood, select a neighborhood from the dropdown box.

Searching by Square
This field is currently linked to a limited number of records where square information is easily discernible, such as for deeds and other real property records. These materials are primarily found in the archives collection within the online catalog. Where relevant, square information may also be linked to other records.

Date(s)
There are two dates available to each record. Some records have an Early Date, and some records have both an Early Date and a Late Date. Here are some examples of how different combinations of dates will return records:

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Records with an Early Date in 1945.

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Records with an Early Date in February of 1918.

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Records with an Early Date of February 24, 1923.

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Records where the span of time between Early Date and Late Date overlaps the span of time between 1935 and 1945.

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Records where the span of time between Early Date and Late Date overlaps the span of time between May of 1986 and August of 1986.

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Records where the span of time between Early Date and Late Date overlaps the span of time between June 12, 1970 and September 24, 1979.

Collection Name
To limit your search to specific types of archival materials, select the appropriate check boxes


Finding Aids

Finding Aids
A finding aid is a descriptive inventory of a special collection where each individual item is not cataloged separately. Finding aids are available for photograph collections, archives and manuscript collections. The Finding Aid search is a keyword search tool that will list the most relevant searches at the top. For example, searching for "George Washington" will list exact matches first, then those with just "George" and those with just "Washington".

Boolean Operators
The finding aid search will accept the boolean operators "AND" and "OR". If, for example, you search for "George Washington" or "George OR Washington", the search will return finding aids that contain either "George" or "Washington", but if you would like to narrow your search, you may search for "George AND Washington", and the search will only return finding aids that contain both names.