Searching the Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Archives Catalogue

Our catalogue can be searched by using the search dialogue box in the “Search” tab. The dialogue box contains several fields that terms can be entered into for carrying out a search:

AnyText can be used to perform a free text search across all the collection lists in the catalogue.  An asterisk, or wildcard, (*) can be used as part of a search to make it more flexible, e.g. an Anytext search for ‘inver*’ will display any list entry with words beginning with ‘inver’ such as ‘Inverurie’, ‘Inverallochy’, ‘Inverbervie’ etc.

Title and Description can be used to perform a free text search across only the title or description fields in the collection lists on the catalogue.

RefNo can be used to search for a collection or item if you already know the relevant reference code, e.g. a search for AS/Akin will show all the items in the Kintore Burgh collection.  Wildcards can also be used in this field.  For example, a RefNo search for ‘ed*’ will show all the list entries for the schools collections whose reference codes all start with ‘ED’.

Date can be used to narrow a search of the collection lists to a particular date or period. A wide range of date formats can be used, such as a specific date or year, date ranges (e.g. 1800-1900) and decades (e.g. 1850s). Entering 1850-1855 will bring up all documents created between those dates. If you search for documents for a specific year your search results will include not only catalogue entries with that exact date but also those covering the period in which that date falls, e.g. a search for 1843 will also include 1840s and 1838-1845.

Refining Your Search

Searches using a combination of the fields can refine your search further. For example, AnyText and RefNo and Date can be used to conduct free searches within a collection for documents covering a particular time-period or year, e.g. a search for AnyText ‘Victoria Road’ with RefNo ‘BW’ and Date ‘1939-1945’ will show all the Aberdeen Building Warrants containing the phrase Victoria Road during the years 1939-1945.

Viewing the Search List

If your search is successful, you will see a summary list of all the items matching your search terms on the next screen. The list is automatically sorted by RefNo, but can be sorted into another order by clicking on the field title at the top.  For example clicking on Date at the top of the summary list will sort it into date order.  

A summary list can also be refined further at this stage by clicking on the Search tab at the top again, typing in a further search term into the dialogue box, and instead of hitting ‘return’ or the Search button at the bottom of the dialogue box, clicking on Narrow or Widen or Exclude

Narrow will limit your search term to your previous summary list, and will return only those results where your new search term appeared. 

Widen will expand your new search term to the entire catalogue.

Exclude will remove those results from your previous summary list where your new search term appears.
To view further details for any list entry click on the relevant number at the left of the list.

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