Skip to main content

Background Image for Header:

How to Search the A&M Guide

Getting Started

Using the WVRHC's Guide to Archives and Manuscripts, you can browse a list of collections, or other content, by selecting links on the main toolbar, including Collections, Digital Material, Subjects, and Names. Additional search tips are below.

Search Tips

Archives and manuscripts collections are typically described as a whole, although the content of component boxes and folders can be described as well. All descriptive data can be searched.

Click the magnifying glass on the menu bar to open the search engine.

The search system disregards capitalization. For example, searching for "diary" will match "DIARY," "Diary," and "diary."

Use Boolean operators (AND, OR, and NOT) between search terms to either narrow or broaden results. See the "Boolean Operators" page of the Databases Search Tips Research Guide for examples.

If you enter multiple search terms, the system will search as if they were separated by OR. For example, entering Civil War will search for all records containing the word Civil as well as all records containing the word War.

If you enter multiple terms in quotes, the system will search for a phrase. For example, entering "annual report" will only search for all records containing the phrase "annual report".

Use the asterisk character as a wildcard. For example, entering wom*n will search for woman and women.

Use the asterisk character for truncation. For example, entering child* will search for child, children, childhood, etc.

Refining Results by Dates

To filter by date within a chronological span, enter the initial and concluding dates of the span in the two search boxes following "Years". For example, entering "1790" and "1800" will find records with material dating from 1790 up to and including 1800, an eleven year span.

Dates in cataloging records represent the date material was created. For example, if a genealogy collection includes a family history that was created in 1980 regarding family members who immigrated in 1750, the date field in the cataloging record will only include 1980; 1750 could appear in another part of the record.

Refining Results by Types, Subjects, and Names

  1. The search engine, by default, allows filtering of search results by "types" of records. To filter results, select facets on the right side of the screen to narrow your search, including:

    Collections (for descriptions of entire collections only)
    Archival Record (for entire collections, and of their component box, folder, and item level contents)
    Digital Record (usually for links to digitized content)
  2. The search engine also allows for filtering by subjects and names. Again, to filter results, select facets on the right side of the screen.

    Subject (for example, Autograph albums, Monongalia County (W. Va.), Temperance, etc.)
    Names (includes organizations, individuals, and families)

Searching for University records

To find University records about a particular subject, try the following:

"West Virginia University" as Creator 

OR "West Virginia University" as Subject 

AND film* as Keyword

Searching by Call Number/Identifier

In the search box, enter "A&M.NNNN" (for example "A&M.0009" for archives and manuscripts collection no. 9, or "A&M.4052" for collection no. 4052). Make sure the second dropdown box is set to Keyword.

Alternately, search for the four digit number (example, 4052) and make sure the dropdown box is set to Identifier.

Searching Within a Collection

If a "Collection Organization" list appears on the right side of the screen when viewing a collection record, that means the cataloging record contains detailed, searchable content.

  1. One can search an entire collection by using the "Search Collection" box immediately above the "Collection Organization" heading. To conduct a search within a collection, simply enter terminology of interest and click "Search". These searches are subject to the same guidelines previously listed under "Search Tips" and "Refining Results by Dates."
  2. One can browse the content of a collection by clicking on "Contents List" and scrolling.
  3. One can browse the content of boxes in a collection by clicking on "Box List" and selecting a box number. This can be a useful strategy if one can identify content of interest within a box range. For example, one could browse boxes 10 and 11 of the Pierpont collection if one is interested in contemporary pamphlets (since the "Collection Overview" for collection A&M.0009 includes "Series 7. Pamphlets; 1850-1949 (bulk 1850-1884); box 10 - box 11, folder 2.").

Digitized Content

The search engine, by default, will "Search all record types," as indicated by the first dropdown menu. Alternatively, one can confine a search to find only digitized content by selecting "limit to digital materials". For example, one could search for "tavern*" with this limit and find a link to "Photographs from A&M 1793, Mrs. Innis C. Davis, Compiler, Taverns in Western Virginia...".

Collection records with linked content include a "Digital Material" link. For example, in the record for A&M 1793 there is a link to its related digital content.