Catalog Search Gets an Upgrade

In today’s edition of Catalog Updates, Jason Clingerman, the National Archives’ new Digital Public Access Branch Chief will focus on the improved search features that make it easier for you to find what you’re looking for. 

What’s changed?

  • You shouldn’t have to start your research with a hunt for the Search bar. We’ve relocated it to the center of the homepage hovering over the background image so it can’t be missed (don’t forget to refresh the page and see the different images!)

catalog search bar

  • To create an advanced search, leave the search bar blank and click the magnifying glass button. Click the Advanced Search link at the top of the new page..

There are also big changes to the advanced search itself:

  • We’ve simplified the “Limit search to:” field. Your new options are:
    • Archival Descriptions – only descriptions of records, excludes digitized records
    • Archival Materials Online – only digitized records and their related descriptions
    • Authority Records – only descriptions of authority records, e.g. organizations, individuals, etc.
    • Web Pages – only archives.gov and presidential library web pages

Advanced search: search limit and dates

  • We’ve enhanced the date search features. There are now three ways to search dates:
    • Search by Date Range – enter a range with begin and end in MM/DD/YYYY format
    • Search by Exact Date – enter an exact date in MM/DD/YYYY format
    • Search by Recurring Date – enter a recurring date (i.e. without any specific year) in MM/DD format
  • Record Group/Collection ID search field has moved towards the top.
  • All fields are now visible but are activated and deactivated depending on where you enter your search terms.

These new options allow for much more flexibility in filtering your searches. Here’s an example, showing the fields you’d fill in to pull back all digitized moving image or photographic items related to the Fourth of July, and held by the Harry S. Truman Library:

catalog advanced search fields screenshot

Let us know what you think of the newly improved search in the National Archives Catalog, and don’t forget to check back here for new posts. Happy researching!

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