This information comes from the Kingston University Archives and Special Collections (who manage the Stephen Sondheim Society Archive) in a series of blogs. If once you’ve consulted the catalogue you have some items which you’d like to view, please email them at email@example.com to make an appointment. This email address can also be used if you have any queries regarding searching any of the catalogues, or the Collections.
When you first go to the Archives catalogue at http://adlib.kingston.ac.uk you land at the welcome page. Selecting ‘Search’ above the welcome text will then take you to our simple search page. This is a basic keyword search (similar to those you would do on an internet search engine) of the title and description of the catalogue records on the Archives catalogue. Simply type in your keyword(s) in the search box and click on search to bring up a list of results.
The following are some tips to get the most out of the simple search:
- Unlike most search engines, the catalogue will not be able to adapt if you spell a word incorrectly, it will simply bring up a result of an Unsuccessful search
- The simple search cannot search either the reference number or date of the catalogue entries, for these you need to use the Expert Search page (more on this in a later post)
- If you enter more than one word into the simple search box it will search for that exact phrase- hence searching ‘Sunday George’ would not bring up any of the catalogue entries for ‘Sunday in the Park with George’- you would need to type out the phrase in full, or a part of it (for example, searching ‘Sunday in the Park’ would bring up records)
- The search is not case sensitive
- If a word contains punctuation within it, this must be included to bring up search results. For example ‘Murdochs’ does not work as a search term, whereas ‘Murdoch’s’ does.
- Bear in mind that the Catalogue contains a number of different catalogue records from a number of different collections, as such if you’re interested only in a particular collection you might end up with results that are not relevant- many of our researchers search for ‘Murdoch’ on the catalogue looking for records on Iris Murdoch. While this would undoubtedly bring up all our catalogue entries on Iris Murdoch, it would also bring up catalogue entries from our Publishing News Archive when Rupert Murdoch is mentioned.
- Having said that- often items relevant to research can be found in a range of collections, and as such the range of results can bring up a helpful overview
- If you are interested in records relating to a particular individual or organisation, work (for example books or shows), or want to see records across our collections on a particular subject (for example writing or Theatre), you will get more accurate results by using the Advanced Search page- more on this in a future post.
To reach the Advanced search go to the catalogue, click on search, and then select Advanced search from the left hand side of the screen.
On the advanced search screen there are a number of options. You’ll see there is a drop down box next to ‘Search In’ at the top of the screen- this will automatically default to Archives, and this should always be selected when searching the Archives catalogue. Below this there are four options:
- Words from title / content: This is essentially the same keyword search performed under the Simple search, see our previous post for more information.
- Subject term: This can be used to search our index of subjects and works. Subjects are the main themes that are connected with a catalogue entry and can be a description of the type of record eg Correspondence, Theatre Programmes, or topics discussed in records eg Theatre, Writing, Philosophy, Music. Works are the titles of creative works discussed in records- typically these are the titles of shows, books, films, television and radio programmes, and songs. Each work is followed by a description of what it is in brackets eg Theatre 71 (book), Follies (musical), Waiting for Godot (play), Through a Glass Darkly (novel), Doctor Who (TV programme), Being Alive (song). We’ll look more at the indexing of subjects and works in our next post.
- Person / Institution: As you’d expect, this links to our index of individuals or organisations linked with the catalogue entries- these can be those who either created the records eg Publishing News, or those who are mentioned in records eg William Shakespeare. The names of individuals follow a particular format- this will be explained in a future post
- Archive Creator: Also linking to the person / institution index, this is a list of those that have been specifically noted for creating our collections- eg Iris Murdoch, Sheridan Morley, David Heneker, or Stephen Sondheim Society.
You’ll notice that for the last three searches above, the search box has to the right a binocular logo. This enables you to browse our indexes to find the term you need. As with all search boxes you can try typing keyword(s) into any of these three boxes and clicking search to bring up results you need- however without knowing the exact format of our index entries you’re likely to bring up no results. This is where the browse function comes in. You’re welcome to browse our indexes in their entirety if you wish to- simple click the binocular logo to the right of the search you’re interested in and a box will appear listing index terms in alphabetical order. The arrows at the bottom of the box can be used to browse through the list. Be warned though- our indexes run to thousands of entries so you could be there for some time! As such you will probably want to narrow your search- simply type the first few letters of your search term into the box and click the binoculars logo, and the pop up box will appear with the nearest term alphabetically to your search at the top.
Once you find the term you need, simply click on it in the pop up box, and it will be automatically entered into the search box on the Advanced search page. You can then click on search to bring up your results.
Essentially this box can be used to search two types of descriptions- Subjects and Activities. Subjects are the main themes that are discussed in a record. These essentially fall under two types:
- Subjects suggested by the type of record- eg. Correspondence, Theatre Programmes, Cassettes, Magazines etc
- Subjects related to topics discussed in a record e.g. Philosophy, Religion and Theology, Theatre, Theatrical Productions, Writing
For subjects we always try to keep the descriptions as short and simple as possible- they are rarely more than one word. For subjects that can be described in more than one way, both terms are in the index and are linked, so whichever term you use brings up the same results- an example of this is searching Drama instead of Theatre. New subjects are being added all the time, so do please keep an eye on the indexes to see what’s being added.
Activity is used to describe Works referenced within the Archives- these fall into the categories of books, theatrical productions, music recordings, films, TV and Radio Programmes, and songs. In all cases the names are structured as:
Name of Work (description of type of work)
For the descriptions of the types of works the following descriptors are used:
- Books will be labelled either (novel), (children’s book), (biography), (autobiography) or (book) [for anything that doesn’t fall into the above]. Examples are- Sin City (novel), Charlotte’s Web (children’s book), Iris: A Life (biography), Look I Made a Hat (autobiography).
- Theatrical productions will be labelled either (play), (musical), (opera) or (show) [for cabaret performances, compilation shows or anything that doesn’t fit into the above]. Examples are- Edward, my Son (play), Follies (musical), Children Will Listen (show).
- Music recordings- will be labelled (album), for example: I’m Breathless (album)
- Films- all should be labelled with (film). Where there are two films in the index with the same name, the brackets will contain the year of release also- for example Singin’ In the Rain (film), Peter Pan (1960 film)
- TV and radio programmes- these will be labelled (TV programme) or (radio programme), for example Dad’s Army (TV programme), Kaleidoscope (radio programme)
- Songs- all will be labelled with (song), for example Being Alive (song)
Please also note the following when searching for works:
- Titles which begin with A, An or The will have this moved to the end of the name eg Red and the Green, The (novel); Little Night Music, A (musical)
- Sometimes there are several types of works with the same title- please ensure you search for the correct one!
- When typing the name into the search box, you’re much more likely to find the work you need by typing in the first few letters of the title and then clicking on the Binoculars icon to browse the lists searching for individuals on the Archives catalogue.
To search individuals you need to go onto the Advanced search page and click into the Persons/ Institutions box. In order to find the individual you need you should type the first few letters of their surname, then click on the binocular logo to the right of the search box- a list of the nearest hits will then appear. Once you find the name you need, click on it to enter it into the search box, and then click on search at the bottom of the page to bring up your results. More details on the advanced search page can be found here.
All the names in our persons index are arranged in a certain way:
Surname, First name, birth date- death date, occupation [this can be more than one thing if an individual works in a number of fields]
E.g. Morley, Sheridan, 1941-2007, theatre critic, author and broadcaster
However, there are a number of variations to this:
- Where an individual is still alive, the date in the middle is the year of birth followed by a dash e.g. Sondheim, Stephen, 1930-, composer
- Where only the year of death is known for an individual, this is entered into the middle preceded by a d. e.g. Allott, Miriam, professor, d. 2010, scholar
- Where an individual is known to be still alive but the year of birth is unknown, then the date they first appear in the records (or can accurately be dated as being alive) is put in the middle preceded by fl. And followed by – e.g. Alexander, Clare, fl. 1978-, publisher and literary agent
- Where an individual’s birth and death dates are unknown, and it is unknown if they are still alive, then the earliest and latest dates they appear in the records are placed in the middle both preceded by an fl. Eg Anderson, Beverly, fl. 1957- fl. 1996, teacher and broadcaster. If an individual can only be dated to a particular year then this is placed in the middle preceded by fl. For example Aldwych, Michael, fl. 1992, actor
- Where the occupation of an individual is unknown, the description at the end of the name term is a brief summary of why they appear in our records, for example Aston, Judy, fl. 1998, friend of Iris Murdoch
- Where an individual is known by two names eg. A pseudonym and their real name, then the name the individual is most commonly known by is the preferred term in the index. Having said that, their other name will also be in the list as a non-preferred term so it shouldn’t matter which one you select- they’ll bring up the same set of records. Eg. Morecambe, Eric, 1926-1984, comedian is the preferred term, however Bartholemew, Eric is also in the index.
- When an individual has a title this is put just before the dates, separated from the first name with a comma eg. Annan, Noel, Baron Annan, 1916-2000, scholar
- Where individuals have a double barrelled surname, whether there is a hyphen or not, the index term will begin at the start of the surname eg. Lloyd Webber, Andrew, 1948-, composer NOT Webber, Andrew Lloyd, 1948-, composer. Having said that the non-preferred term will also appear in the index, so it shouldn’t matter which one you select- they both bring up the same set of records.
- Please be aware that there will be times where different individuals of the same name appear in the index- the dates and description at the end should enable you to select the person you need. Please ensure you select the correct one before making your search
The actual process of searching for an organisation is identical to searching for an individual: you need to go onto the Advanced search page and click into the Persons/ Institutions box. In order to find the institution you need you should type the first few letters of their name, then click on the binocular logo to the right of the search box- a list of the nearest hits will then appear. Once you find the name you need, click on it to enter it into the search box, and then click on search at the bottom of the page to bring up your results.
The labelling of institutions in the Archives catalogue is quite simple- the most recent name of the institution is used for the search term. However, there are still some points to note on how institutions are identified in the index:
- Where an institution’s name begins with A, An, or The, this is put to the end of the description, separated from the name by a comma- e.g. for The Times newspaper the actual index term is Times, The. Having said that, the alternative version of the name will also appear in the index as a non-preferred term –i.e. if you search for The Times, the same records will come up as for Times, The
- In nearly all cases the name of an institution is written out in full e.g. Victorian and Albert Museum, not V&A. An exception to this are institutions more commonly known by an acronym e.g. BBC. The alternative name (either abbreviation or full) will however also appear in the index as a non-preferred term (i.e. searching BBC or British Broadcasting Corporation will bring up the same records)
- If an organisation is named after an individual the name is written as it is used by the organisation i.e. the surname and first name will not be reversed, for example Stephen Sondheim Society is used, not Sondheim, Stephen Society.
- If the name of an organisation is unclear, or it may be the same as one of our other subject terms, a brief description of what the organisation does has been added in brackets e.g. Playbill (magazine)
- If an organisation has changed names, the current or latest name used will be the main search term- however the previous names will also appear in the index so it should not matter which one you search for.
- Expert Search.To navigate to the Expert Search page, go to the Archives catalogue, select Search, and then Expert Search from the left hand side of the page. The Expert Search page consists of a drop down box, a box for text, and a plus sign for adding extra searches if you wish. There are also options for arranging your results.The drop down box gives you an option of what you would like to search. The options are:
- Word(s) from title: Searching words in the title field of collections and document records. This is a version of the simple search restricted to the title only.
- Word(s) from Content: Searching words in the Content / Description field of collection and document records. This is a version of the simple search restricted to the content only
- Subject: This is very similar to the Subject search on the Advanced Search page
- Person / Institution: This is very similar to searches for persons and institutions on the Advanced Search page
- Archive creator: Similar to the persons and institutions search on the Advanced Search page, except that it’s limited to those noted as having created our Archive collections. For example if you wanted to see all the letter runs by Iris Murdoch catalogued, you could use this search. To find records by a particular person or organisation, type in the first few letters of their surname or the organisation’s name, then click the binocular logo to the right of the search box- this will then bring up an alphabetical list of Archive creators, with the entries closest to your search at the top. Select the entry you need and then click ‘Search’ at the bottom of the page to bring up your results.
- Level of Description: Each description in the Archive Catalogue has a different level- Fonds are used for the descriptions of whole collections, Series and Sub-Series for sub-sections of that, and file and items for individual files and documents within collections. If you wish to search records at a particular level, type the level you need into the box and select search. Please note not all Collections contain all the levels.
- Reference number: Each Collection and document in the Archive has it’s own unique reference number. If you know the reference number of a particular collection you are interested in, putting the number in here and selecting search will limit you results to just that Collection. This can prevent irrelevant records appearing in your search results.
KUAS96 : Stephen Sondheim Society Archive
Regardless of which method you use to search, you should bring up a list of records that matches your search terms. Depending on what you are looking for, you might bring up just one result or several. Your list of results can be displayed in two ways. The default view is a List Display, a list of all the collections, files or items which match your search. This result is good if you need a quick skim through the results, however you cannot tell which collection a file or item belongs to. As such it is not so useful for putting your search results into their correct context, or if you wish to find other documents within the same collection (for more on context see our previous post here).
The other option for your results is the Hierarchy Display- you can change to this view by clicking in the box towards the bottom left hand side of the screen. The advantage of this is that it shows the levels in a collection above your search result- for example if the actual search result is an item, the hierarchy display will tell you which file, series and collection it belongs to- enabling you to put the records in their correct context and to investigate their collections if you wish to. The down side of this display is that in can be more confusing actually locating the item you need with the information displayed- the entry highlighted in blue is the catalogue entry that matched the search result.
When you have found a catalogue entry you would like to read further, click on the record to go to the catalogue entry. This gives you all the information you need to decide if the record is of interest. Please bear in mind that not all the following appear on all catalogue entries but you can expect to find at least some of the following:
- Title- The title of the Collection / Series / File / Item, or a brief description of it
- Reference- Every Collection, series, file or item has its own unique reference number- this enables us to find the record you need. When requesting items to view please always give us the reference number.
- Date- The date, or covering dates, of the collection, series, file or item
- Creator – usually at Collection level only, the name of the creator of the Archival collection
- Scope and Content- This is a summary of the content of the collection, series, file of item- usually summarising what it is and the main topics it covers. For Collection level records this might include a summary of the main topics the collection covers, for file level entries it can include an itemised list of the file contents. This field is one of the most helpful for deciding if you wish to consult an item in the Archive.
- History / Biography- Usually at Collection level only, this gives the history of the person or organisation who created the archival collection.
- Extent: The quantity of material- this can range from dozens of boxes to one item depending on what the catalogue entry is referring to.
- Language: If the record contains a language other than English this will be noted here. For records entirely in English this field is not used.
- Physical description- if the item is particularly fragile, or has any handling requirements, this is noted here. This is particularly helpful if you wish to consult an item in the Archive.
- Archival History- usually at Collection level only, this is a summary of how the collection was created and stored before coming to the University.
- Level: The Level a catalogue entry sits at, this can be Fonds (Collection) Series, File or Item
Below the search results is a hierarchy browser- this allows you to see where a file, item or series fits within a collection, or to browse the contents of Collections, series and files.
If once you’ve consulted our catalogue you have some items which you’d like to come in and view, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to make an appointment. This email address can also be used if you have any queries regarding searching any of our catalogues, or the Collections we hold.