How do I search the database?

Quick Search
You can perform a quick search by using the box at the top right hand side on the Worcestershire Archive and Archaeology Service online catalogue homepage. This option searches across all the title and description fields in the catalogue database.

Searching Tips

·         If you want to search for an exact phrase, for example Railway Station, you need to type the two words together with a space between them within inverted commas as "Railway Station".

·         If you want to search for words which contain an apostrophe, for example King’s Norton, you should try searching both with and without the punctuation as King’s Norton and Kings Norton.

·        Another way you can search for different spellings is to use the ‘wildcard’ represented by an asterisk *. King* Norton will find both King’s Norton and Kings Norton. You can use this whenever there may be word or spelling variations.

·         Do not forget to make a note of the full Finding No, including BA number, of any records in which you are interested.

Advanced Search
By default the search will look for the word or words you have entered. You can however choose to change the default search criteria by following the on-screen annotations next to and inside the entry boxes and clicking Refine Search Criteria under the Any text, Description and Title fields. There are three ways of refining the search option:

·         With all the words

·         With at least one of the words

·         Without the words (Please note that there is a fault with this function which means that it cannot be used for the Any text field at the moment)

These guide you to perform searches for records containing all the words entered, records containing at least one of the words entered or records without the words entered.  'And' is assumed, for example if you enter Train in the Title field and Station in the Description field, only records containing both 'Train' and 'Station' (in their respective fields) will be found, records containing just one of these words will not be shown in the search results

How to use the Fields

Any text  Use this field to search across all the text fields in the entire database. You can enter any word or phrase here just as you would in a web search engine like Google. For example, to find out if we have references to a particular parish or family, enter the name here and click on the Search button at the bottom of the screen.

Description  Use this field to search across the entries in the description field of all of our records in the database. This may give you rather more specific results than those you would get using the "Any text" search.

Title  Use this field to search across the entries in the title field of all of our records in the database. This should give you even more specific results than those you would get using the "Any text" or "Description" search.

Date   You can narrow your search down to a particular date, or a date range. There are a number of ways you can express the dates in which you are interested eg 1940 or 1760-1810 or 16th cent or 1500s or early 19th cent or mid 19th cent or late 19th cent or c1950.

Computer Ref  No  This refers only to the computer system identification number, not the reference which the Archive Service uses to locate records. It is unlikely that this field would be useful to members of the public.  If you know the reference by which you request records in the Original Documents searchroom, you should use the "Finding No" field.

Finding No Use this field if you know the reference, or finding number (including any prefix and BA number), by which you request records in the Original Documents searchroom.   A search will only be successful if you are able to enter the information exactly as it appears in the database.  This may vary from the finding number you know if the catalogue entries have been summarised.

Level   As well as 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.  This field has a drop down picklist to allow you to select one of the available terms used in the catalogue database.

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