How to search the Archives database – Tutorial


Hello, and thank you for watching our
tutorial on searching the City of Toronto Archives’ database. Learning how to search the database effectively will help you find interesting material about
Toronto’s history and culture. The Toronto Archives is filled with
amazing archival records and the purpose of this video is to help you learn how
to find them. We are going to start off by searching for toronto.ca/archives which will bring you to our homepage where you can find a variety of information and resources. Today we are going to focus specifically
on searching the database. To start, I’m going to click the blue “Search the
Archives” button here, which will open up another tab. Now, for those of you who
have used our database in the past you will notice that we have recently
updated our default database to the mobile-friendly version. Today, however I
am going to show you how to use the desktop interface, so after we push the
“Search the Archives” button we are going to select the “Desktop Interface” button
on the top right-hand corner of the screen. From here we will begin our
searching! If you are doing a very basic search you
can use the keyword search feature located at the top of the screen. This is
a good place to start if you are interested in browsing our collections
and just seeing what is up available. You can plug keywords into this search. You can search keywords like intersections, streets, people, events really anything
you can think of. The possibilities are endless! For example, if we type in the
keywords “young eglinton” and click the “search” button we are going to come up
with 608 results which are shown here on the left hand side of the screen. You can
click on the title of a record to see more details about it here on the right
side of the screen. You can also narrow your keyword search
by only searching for scanned photographs by checking the scanned
photographs only box. The archives has 1.7 million photos in our collection,
over 100,000 of which are digitized, this means you can view a lot of
photographs online from your home computer. So after I check this box and
push the “search” button I get 79 digitized photos that I can
look through. By clicking on any of these photos, you can view the scanned photos
on the right hand side description. If you want to see the photograph bigger,
you can click on the image. Then to close this image you can click the “x” in the
right hand corner. If you want to narrow your search even more than this, you can
use the advanced search button located up to the top, beside the “search button”.
The advanced search allows you to narrow your searching by letting you be more
specific about what you are looking for. It is useful if you are looking for
something very specific, well the basic keyword searching is a better option if
you are just starting out and want to browse the system. Now let’s go over the
different fields you can use for your search and talk about what they are each
used for. The “Title or Number” field is used if you know the exact title of a
record you are looking for. You can type the title in here and push the search
button to find the record with this title. The keyword field is the same as
the first basic search field we did at the beginning, you can use it by typing
in words or phrases. The date field allows us to narrow our search by
creation date or date ranges. When typing in date ranges though, remember to
separate the years by a dot dot dot and not a dash. Archival material is
arranged hierarchically from the general to the specific. The level of arrangement
field lets you specify if you were searching for a full fonds which is more
general, or a file which is more specific. The type of media narrows your search by
letting you select a specific type of media, like photographs, textual records,
drawings, etc. The scanned photograph only box is also available to be used in the
advanced search. Finally, the last field is the forms part of fields, which is
used if you want to search for something within a specific collection. You would
type the title or collection number in this field before you push the search
button. Okay, now let’s do an example of a search. So, say you want to search for some
council minutes. You would type that into the keyword field. Maybe you want the
records to be dated between 1901 and 1905. So you would type that into the
date field. You also want to specifically see council minutes from Scarborough, so you would type in “Scarborough” into the forms part of field. If you press “search” the database shows the records that have all these
specifications. Once you have identified records you
would like to see, the next step is requesting to view them. So I am now
going to go over how to order archival material. Many of the records of the
archives are not scanned, so if you would like to look at them, you will need to
request the records and view them in-person here in the archives. The first
step is creating a list of records you want to see. The save to list button at
the bottom of the screen will add the record to your list. You can also just
check these boxes beside the titles to add them to your list. You can see the
number of items you have appear in your list. As you can see, right now I have
four records. Once you have selected all the material you would like to view, you
can view your list by selecting the “view list” button at the top of the screen. A
pop up will show the items on your list. Check the items you want to order and
press the “go” button at the top. Pressing the “go” button will generate a
PDF list with barcodes on it, this is your records request form! You can print
this form off and give it to reference staff at the Toronto Archives and your
records will be retrieved from storage within one hour. Alternatively, you can
also download this form your home computer and email it to us ahead of
time, indicating the date you would like to review these records and we will have
them ready for your visit. Our email address is [email protected] Thank you for watching our video on
searching the database. Please look forward to more instructional videos in
the future. Thank you again for watching, and happy searching!

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