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Archives in London and the M25 area

Help with Basic searching

What will be searched?

AIM25 descriptions of archive collections are held in a format based on '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 (reference, title, dates etc). Descriptions are also indexed by names of persons, corporate organizations, subjects and places associated with the description and these indexing terms or 'index entries' are listed next to each description. Basic search allows you to find words from all these fields and index entries, and so provides the broadest search option.

What search terms can I use?

For quick searching, any string of characters may be used. The search will look for an exact match for the string, so if no matches are found it can be useful to try a shorter search string. You can search for individual words, parts of words, or phrases, all of which may include punctuation characters. If a search term forms part of a larger word, the larger word will also be a successful match.

Can I search for parts of words?

Yes, for example by specifying a search for class will find all descriptions containing class, classes, classed, classified and classification, amongst other words.

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

No, you can type in capitals or lowercase. For example, if you type Pain, pain, PAIN or even pAiN, the system will find the word pain wherever it occurs without regard to the case of its letters.

Can I combine search terms?

Not with Basic search. If you find that your search returns too many hits, try to be more specific in your choice of search terms, or use the Refine search option on the results page to narrow the search. Alternatively, try narrowing the search using the options in Advanced search or looking for your terms in the subject or name listings.

Entering a string of search terms will normally return no hits because your input is taken as a literal string for searching. For example, if you type class hampstead 1920, no results will be returned, although if you type class and then use the Refine box on the results list page to enter hampstead, you are more likely to find any matching records. For date searches, try the Advanced search form.

How do I view the results of my search?

Search results are returned as a paged list which gives the name of the repository holding the collection, the title of the collection, the date on which the description was compiled, and an abstract of the introductory phrase from the Scope and Content field to give an indication of the contents of the collection. The title, repository, and date columns may be sorted in ascending or descending order using the arrows at the head of each column. Clicking on the title link will take you to a full page view of the description.

You can step through the lists of matches using the row of numbered pages at the bottom of the list of matches. The numbered links take you to the first, second, third and so on set of matches.

You can also broaden your search using the indexing entries at the right hand side of the page, or narrow your search using the Refine search box.

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.