Quick search / Advanced search

You can perform a quick search by using the box at the top right hand side on the home page. This option searches across only the title and description fields in the catalogue database, so we recommend you use the advanced search option instead as this will search the entire database.

Advanced search fields:

Any text
Use this field to search across all the text fields in the catalogue database. Simply type the word or words you wish to search on into the 'Any text' search box, and click on the 'Search' button at the bottom of the screen. Where more than one term is entered, the search will automatically retrieve records which contain both terms. These terms may not always appear next to each other in the text. If you want to search for an exact phrase (so the words appear adjacent to each other in the text), e.g. John Smith, enter the text with double quotation marks, thus "John Smith".

Finding Number
If you know the Finding Number of a particular collection or the specific item that you require, you can enter it in this search field.

As well as detailed descriptions of individual documents, the online catalogue includes descriptions of entire collections. Archives are arranged into collections called 'fonds' and then sub-divided as needed into 'sub-fonds' (or sub-collections), 'series', 'files' and 'items'. Please see the glossary for further information about these archival terms. Most people leave this field blank, but the level field has a drop down picklist if you wish to select one of the available levels used in the catalogue database. If you only want an overview of a particular collection, select ‘Fonds’. You can also do a Fonds search to see how a large collection is arranged. For example, to get an overview of the different groupings of records in the Church Missionary Society collections, enter 'CMS' in the Finding Number field, narrow your search to 'Fonds' in the drop down list in the Level field and click on Search. Click on the first title line which appears to bring up collection level description and then, on the next screen, click on the Finding Number (which will be highlighted in blue).

Title and Description ('Refine Search Criteria')
If you wish to narrow down your search, instead of choosing the AnyText option, enter your search term under either the Title or Description field. The results will only call up instances where your chosen term appears in the title or description of the record. If you have entered more than one word, you can further refine your search by selecting 'Refine Search Criteria'. This gives you three options: to search only for records that contain all of your search terms ('all words'), to search for records that contain at least one, but not necessarily all, of your search terms ('any words') or to exclude from your search certain words or phrases that you are not interested in and that might otherwise be called up by the search criteria that you have chosen ('exclude words'). For example, if you wish to do a broad sweep search for anything relating to Dartington's buildings but have no interest in the Great Hall, you could enter 'building' as your search term and choose to exclude 'hall' from your search.

You can narrow your search down to a particular date, or a date range (e.g. 1837, 1910-1950, or 18th century). How is the information resulting from a search presented? The results of your search will be presented in three columns:
  • Finding Number
  • Title
  • Date
Your search term(s) may not appear in the text displayed in the hitlist. If it doesn’t, it will be highlighted in yellow in the more detailed catalogue description which can be viewed by clicking on the Finding Number. The total number of catalogue records found for your search request will be given at the top of the display. If your search has retrieved more than 5 records, you can either use the Next, Previous, Start and End links at the top of the screen to view all the records in your hitlist 5 entries at a time, or you can chose to display a larger number of entries on the screen by using the drop down numbered pick list.

How do I sort the records in the 'search results' hitlist?

By default, records in a hitlist are presented in 'Finding Number' order. However, you can also sort the records by Title or by Date by clicking on the appropriate column heading above the displayed records.

How can I find out more information about an entry displayed in the 'search results' hitlist?

By clicking on the ‘Finding Number’ of a particular entry, the full description and all other relevant information will be displayed. Click on the ‘Finding Number’ again if you then want to see the record in its hierarchical context (i.e. how it relates to other records in the collection) and to see other records in the same catalogue.
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