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Archives in London and the M25 area

Help with Advanced searching

What will be searched?

AIM25 descriptions of archive collections are held in a format known as ISAD(G), which is the agreed general international standard for archival description. Every description contains a number of fields, each of which carries specific information about the archival collection described. The fields used in AIM25 are as follows.

3.1.1 Reference code
3.1.2 Title
3.1.3 Date(s)
3.1.4 Level of description
3.1.5 Extent and medium of the unit of description
3.2.1 Name of creator
3.2.2 Administrative/biographical history
3.2.3 Archival history
3.2.4 Source of acquisition
3.3.1 Scope and Content
3.3.2 Appraisal
3.3.3 Accruals
3.3.4 Arrangement
3.4.1 Conditions governing access
3.4.2 Conditions governing reproduction
3.4.3 Language of material
3.4.4 Physical characteristics
3.4.5 Finding aids
3.5.1 Originals
3.5.2 Copies
3.5.3 Related units of description
3.5.4 Publication note
3.6.1 Note
3.7.1 Archivist's note
3.7.2 Rules or conventions
3.7.3 Date of description

Advanced Search allows you to find words or phrases in all of these fields, together with controlled subject terms, personal or corporate names, and place names, which have been used to index the description. The search may be broadened or narrowed by entering a second search term and choosing whether you wish to search for records containing either term (OR), both terms (AND), or records containing one term but not the other (ANDNOT). You may also search for records in a chosen repository, or for records covering a specific date or date range. These searches may be combined to narrow the search.

If your search returns a list containing more than one record, you may further refine the search with additional keywords.

How do I enter search terms?

Enter words or phrases in the boxes provided. To search for a phrase, such as National Health Service simply type in the phrase. No quotation marks are necessary. Searches are case-insensitive.

Entering a string of search terms in one of the keyword boxes will normally return no hits because your input is taken as a literal string for searching. For example, if you type class hampstead 1920 in the first keyword box, no results will be returned. However, if you type class in the first box and hampstead in the second box, click on the AND button, and enter 1920 in the first date box, you are more likely to find any matching records.

How do I search for parts of words?

The default search behaviour is to search for your string of letters as entire words or as parts of words. Thus, specifying a search for class will find all documents containing class, classes, classed, classified and classification, amongst other words. If your search returns too many matches, you may refine (narrow) the search using another search term in the second keyword box; these results can then be narrowed further by entering another term in the Refine box on the results page. term in the Refine box. If your search returns no matches, try a less precise word or phrase, or browse the subject/place/name indexes.

Does it matter whether I type in capitals or lower case?

No. You can type Pain, pain, PAIN or even pAiN, and the system will find the word pain wherever it occurs without regard to the case of its letters.

How do I search for specific dates?

Date searches are based upon the dates on which the collection was created (3.1.3 Date(s)), and covers the entire collection. To search for a particular year, use a single IN search box. To search for material before or after a particular year, use the BEFORE or AFTER options. To search for records covering a range of dates, use the date range option and enter the two years defining the range of interest. Note that you should use 4-digit years for searching; if you are looking for material earlier than the 11th century, use BEFORE 1000. Note also that some collections are undated, and that these will be excluded from any date search.

How do I view the results of my search?

Search results are returned as a list which gives the name of the repository holding the collection, the title of the collection, and an abstract of the introductory phrase from the Scope and Content field to give an indication of the contents of the collection. Click on the title to call up the full description. Researchers should note that the list of results is not relevancy ranked. You can step through the lists of matches using the row of links at the top and bottom of the list of matches.

How do I get a printed copy of the results?

The easiest way to do this is to use your Web browser to print the results to a local printer. When you have carried out your search and the results are loaded into your browser, use its Print button or menu option to get a printed copy.