Leeds University Library

Searching Special Collections

These instructions are for the new search facility for Special Collections.

Basic search

  • Enter one or more words into the search box
  • Letter case does not matter. Eg 'First Aid' is the same as 'first aid'
  • Word order does not matter. Eg 'aid first' will match the same records as 'first aid'
  • If the word order does matter, enter a phrase within double quotes, eg "first aid"
  • Records are returned that contain all of the entered words. Eg 'aid first' will return only those records that contain both 'aid' and 'first'. If you would like to be a bit more sophisticated, please read the 'Boolean search' section below.
  • If you are not sure of spelling, use * to match any characters. Eg brown* matches brown, browne, browning...

Boolean search (and, or, not)

How are words combined in a search?

  • Normally (as mentioned above) records are returned that contain all of the entered words. Eg 'aid first' will return only those records that contain both 'aid' and 'first'.
  • If you want to search for records that contain eg 'first' or records that contain 'aid', then enter:
    first OR aid
    OR has to be in capital letters
  • If you want to search for records that eg contain 'first' but do not include 'aid', then enter:
    first NOT aid

    NOT has to be in capital letters
  • You can use brackets to make even fancier searches. Eg:
    first NOT (aid OR medicine)
    searches for records containing 'first' that do not contain 'aid' and do not contain 'medicine'

Advanced search

  • There are additional options available if 'Advanced search' is selected
  • 'Media' - choose to search all records, or only those with images, or with other media (e.g. PDFs)
  • 'Type of record' - choose to search for all records, or just Archival records, books and printed matter, or index records (see more details on types or records)
  • 'Field' - choose the field to search, e.g. title, description
  • 'Level' -  restrict the search to a particular level of an archive hierarchy
  • 'Collection group' - restrict the search to a particular group of collections
  • Earliest/Latest dates - restrict the search to those records of materials created in a particular century. Note that many of our collections span long time periods, and many records only have approximate dates, so please use these date options with care.