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Quick Search

Enter a word or phrase in the Search box and click Search. Quick Search looks for that word or phrase in an index of all the data associated with each record throughout the database.

Fuzzy searching

Quick Search includes “fuzziness”, which allows the system to return items which contain words similar to the term entered, as well as those that are identical. For example, a search for avemue will find avenue, and a search for congregate will find congregation and congregations.. If a match isn't found, suggestions will be offered of similar terms that do exist in the data. For example searching for avanue on this site will not return any items but avenue / venue / advanced / revenue will be suggested as possible alternatives.

Fuzzy searching and suggestions are inhibited by placing quotes around the term entered in the Quick Search. For example, “congregate” will return items with exactly that word, but will not find items with congregation. Searching for “avamue” will not return any items and no suggestions will be offered.


The asterisk character * can be used as a wildcard in place of a single or several unknown characters in the term entered into the Quick Search. For example, North* will retrieve North, Northern, Northbound, Northhampton etc...The wildcard character cannot be used at the start of a search term so if *bound is entered in the Quick Search, the leading wildcard will simply be ignored.

Boolean Operators

When more than one word is entered into the Quick Search text box it is possible to use Boolean operators to join or exclude words. Boolean AND, OR and NOT can be used to specify whether the search will return items where the data contains all the words entered as search terms, any of the words, or to specify that the search should only return items where a word does not occur. For example entering

washington AND street

finds only items where Washington and street are both present in the data.


washington NOT street

finds only items where Washington is present in the data but street is not.


washington OR bridge

finds items where either Washington or bridge are present in the data (and also returns items where both terms are present).

Where several words are entered in the Quick Search without a Boolean operator, for example

key bridge

the Quick search will join them with AND by default.

Phrase Searching

A search term:

east church

will search for east AND church joining the words with the default Boolean operator. To force the search to find only those items where the words entered in the Quick Search occur as a phrase, the entered string of terms should be enclosed in double quotes. So entering:

“east church”

into the Quick Search box will only return items whose data contains that exact phrase.

Images by Category

Each Historic Photographs record can have one or more subject keywords associated with it. A search can be carried out for these keywords using the Images by Category page which shows all keywords beginning with the letter selected from the panel on the left.

Advanced Search

A more focussed search than that performed by the Quick Search can be carried out using the Advanced Search which allows a search to be carried out on the content of specific data fields. Use the first box in the top section to choose whether to search Historic Photographs or Local Studies Index records. When this is done the appropriate list of data fields will then be displayed. If search terms are to be entered against more than one data field, the second box at the top allows you to specify whether the records that are found must contain ALL those terms (Boolean AND) or AT LEAST ONE of the terms (Boolean OR).

Each field is also preceded by a control drop list which allows you to define how the entered term will be applied to search the field. By default this is set to ‘Contains’ which means that records will be found if the entered term is anywhere in the contents of the field.

Refine Search

When the returns of any search are displayed, a Refine Search command appears in the left hand menu bar. The Refine Search page is almost identical to the Advanced Search page, but it only searches within the results of the previous search, which is shown at the top of the page in a message saying ‘You are refining this search: ’ and then confirming the previous search.

Previous Searches

The Previous Searches page records a history of all the searches you perform in a chronological list. To view the results of a previous search, click on the link. Searches will disappear when the list reaches a given size or when they have been in the list for a given time, both of which are set by System Managers.

Browse All Images

Selecting Browse All Images will return every Historic Photographs record in the database.

Online Exhibitions

Online Exhibitions are groups of records associated with a particular topic or theme. Some Online Exhibitions may be featured down the right hand side of the Home page. However, all the Online Exhibitions in the database will be shown from the link in the left hand menu bar. Clicking on the thumb of a Online Exhibition will open a page with general information about the topic or theme, and from where all items associated with it can be viewed from a panel headed ‘Items linked to this Online Exhibition’.


Beside each thumbnail, and on each Item Record page, is a checkbox. Clicking in this box changes the item’s status to ‘Selected’. The item is automatically placed in the Selections page and can be viewed at any time using the Selections link on the left hand navigation bar. To remove an item from Selections click the checkbox, or use Clear Selection to remove all items. As a registered and logged-in user, more options are available on the Selections page, including the ability to Save a selection for retrieval at a later date.