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Advanced Search (Items only)


Here are some tips that can help you find or discover what we have in our collection AND how to contribute new information or corrections.

Searching for stuff

Typing one or more keywords in the search box (upper right part of the page) will show you all the items that have one or more of the keywords. The ones with more of the keywords you type will tend to "float to the top". So if you search for "Fred Smith" the items containing both "Fred" and "Smith" will tend to be first, followed by items that might just have "Fred" and others that might have just "Smith" (in no particular order).

If the normal search doesn't give you what you are looking for, there more sophisticated ways to find things. Click on the ... next to the search "magnifying glass" and you'll get a menu of increasingly fancy ways of searching. (See Advanced Searching below)

Also see "What are Tags" and "What are Collections" below for other ways to explore the archive.

School Classes

To help organize photographs of classrooms and schools we adopted a strategy of trying to determine what the normal graduating class year might be for the photograph. The item is then "tagged" with the year like so: "CO1917" - short for "Class Of 1917". This means that you can search for CO1922 and find any photos we felt corresponded to the class of 1922.

This tagging standard is very useful when searching for someone whose age you know or if you know when they graduated from high school. However, if you don't find the person you were looking for we highly advise poking at adjacent years because we can't always determine the class year accurately and, quite frankly, making it through 12 years of school was not exactly the norm 100 years ago.

What are "Tags"?

Many of the items in the archive have one or more "tags" associated with them. These are keywords that the person entering the item has decided both describes the item and, more importantly, may describe other items in the collection. This tagging process is "organic" within our collection team and is constantly evolving as we discover new ways of associating items with each other. You can think of tagging as a way we build informal "Collections" within the archives. (See "What are Collections?" below.) You can see all of the tags we have used by clicking on "Browse Items" and then selecting the "Browse by Tag" option.

What are "Collections"?

Collections are curated groups of items that are associated with each other in some way. We have only begun to actively manage these collections (i.e., we're still figuring out which ones we want, etc.) and most of the collections are incomplete as they require a fair amount of work to manage and we're pretty overwhelmed just getting the archive built in the first place.

Can I see high-resolution images?

Maybe. Many (but not all) of our scanned photographs retain their high-resolution files. If you are looking for a higher resolution view of an item, click on the thumbnails in the "Files" section of the item view sidebar. These will download the full-resolution versions of the images.

How can I fix a mistake or omission?

We rely on our audience to help fill in the many missing pieces of our historical record. If you notice an error (e.g., wrong date / name) or omission (e.g., a person is not identified) please send us an email with the item information (the identifier is handy, or just copy and paste the citation in the sidebar) along with your corrected information. Send your submission to: We'll look into it as soon as we can. Thank you!

p.s. We're not just looking for corrections! We also welcome anecdotes or stories to help create a more well-rounded description.

What the heck is Dublin Core?

You might see references to "Dublin Core" here and there. This refers to a cataloging standard. Nothing to do with Ireland (indeed, the "Dublin" that it was named after was in Ohio!)

Advanced Searching

The search capability has three options:

  • Keyword: similar to Google Search, a keyword search returns results ordered by relevance. Searching on “town clock” will prioritize records that contain the full string “town clock”, but will also include records that contain the individual words “town” or “clock”.
  • Boolean: allows greater fine-tuning than keyword search but does not return results by relevance. Do this by using certain characters at the beginning or end of words in the search string. Some examples:
    • +: a leading plus sign indicates that this word must be present in each row that is returned.
    • -: a leading minus sign indicates that this word must not be present in any of the rows that are returned.
    • *: an appended asterisk serves as the truncation (or wildcard) operator. Words match if they begin with the word preceding the * operator.
    • “: a phrase that is enclosed within double quote characters matches only rows that contain the phrase literally, as it was typed.
    More special characters and further information about boolean search can be found on the MySQL website.
  • Exact match: returns records that contain at least one match to the order of words entered, like “Civil War”. Use this search type if you need to search short words, like “war”, and the keyword/boolean searches do not produce results.