Help with Searching the Catalogue
This catalogue contains brief details of all archive collections held by Gloucestershire Archives and full details for all catalogued collections. It also holds details of the local studies material held in seven centres across the county.
Using the Catalogue
You can make a Quick Catalogue Search by using the box at the top right hand side of the home page. This will search across the Title, Description and FindingRef fields of the catalogue.
Have a look at our help video 'The Basics'.
You can use Advanced Search from the left hand menu to carry out a more complex search.
You can use one or more fields at a time. The more information you can enter about your enquiry, the more precise an answer you will get.
- Keyword - search for a word or words in any field in the catalogue. If you want to search for a phrase use double quotation marks eg "William Shakespeare"
- FindingRef - if you know the reference for the item or collection which you wish to look at, enter it in this field
- Author - search for authors of published works. Type the surname first, followed by first name (no punctuation required) e.g. Jones A
- Date - this enables you to define your search more precisely. You can enter dates in several different ways:
- a particular year: 1879
- a range of years: 1850-1900
- a century: 19th century
- Level - as well as finding detailed descriptions for single items, you will find descriptions of entire collections, as well as smaller sub-divisions like sections and series. Use the pull down arrow to choose from the available options
- HeldAt - search for items held in a particular location. Use the pull down arrow to choose from the available options
You can also refine your search criteria in both the Keyword and Author fields by choosing to search for 'all the words', 'at least one of the words' and 'without the words'.
- The wild card asterisk * enables you to search on part of a word. Bis* will find records in which the words "Bisley", "Bishop's", etc appear
- The search form is not case specific
- The catalogue will not automatically search for singular and plural spellings - if you want to find bell and bells, use bell*
Using your Search Results
- The results of your search will be presented as a hitlist showing FindingRef, Title and Date. The list will show 50 items to a page. You can click on any of the text to display further details about that particular item.
Sorting your results
- When you have your hitlist you can sort the results into order, for example by date or title. Click on the columns at the top of the page to sort using one of those options. e.g. "FindingRef"
See a detailed entry
- For more detail about any item click anywhere on it. This will take you to a detailed description for that item
- If the item is from an archive collection and you are in the detailed view, you can click on the 'AltRefNo' to display the record in its hierarchy. This displays as a "tree" structure. The "tree" works much like the folder structure in a file management program. You can click on the + icons to expand the tree to show what is in each subdivision. You can click the text of the item itself to give you more information about it.
I have found an item I am interested in - how do I arrange to visit?
Have a look at our Plan your visit pages to see what you need to do next.
I can't visit the archive - can I get a copy sent to me?
You can employ an independent record agent to make a copy for you. For more information you can look at our Getting copies of documents and publications pages.
What do the Use restrictions and Access conditions statements mean?
It isn't always straightforward to access information or documents held here. You can find out more on our What can I see? pages.
Why can't I find the information I am looking for?
When you are searching the catalogue you will only find exact words used by the cataloguer. If you haven't found what you are after, try using related search terms. There is lots more advice about getting the best from the catalogue in our Help with searching the catalogue above.