Swansea University Libraries & Archives
Richard Burton Archives

How To Search

Using the Search box


Quick searches of the catalogue can be undertaken by entering a term in to the search box found on each page.


This will search across the title, document reference, description and background fields.


Where more than one word is entered the default setting is an AND search, which will find records containing all of the words e.g. a search for 'parish register' will return records which include the words 'parish' and 'register' but in any order. If you want to search for an exact phrase (so the words appear adjacent to each other in the text), e.g. John Smith, enter the text with double quotation marks, thus "John Smith".


Using Advanced Search


Advanced Search allows you to perform more precise searches and to choose which fields to search in. In advanced search, you can search in the following fields:


  • Date (if you search a specific year results will be shown where ranges include that given year as well as entries where the date matches exactly)
  • Reference number (if you know the reference of a specific item you can enter it here and the description of that item will be shown; if you know the reference of a collection you can enter this here and all items in that collection will be shown. If you combine a search in this field with a search of another field, only items with the document reference specified will be shown on the hitlist)
  • Title
  • Description

In the advanced search it is possible to search more than one field at a time.


There is also an 'any text' field enabling you to search across all the fields in the database.


Advanced Searching of Text Fields


The searchable fields that contain text have the option for you to refine your search criteria further. By clicking 'refine search criteria', further options are brought up.


You can also search for part of a word by using a wildcard (*); so 'Indi*' will bring up 'India', 'Indian', 'Indies', and any other word beginning 'Indi-'.


General Advice


Remember that you are searching descriptions, and not the actual text of the documents. It is therefore useful to think about the sort of records that are relevant to your research and how they might be described. If you cannot find what you are looking for it is a good idea to try searching for related terms, for example if you're searching for material on the Second World War try also searching for 'World War II', 'Blitz', 'air raid', 'wartime', 'military' etc.


Sometimes archaic or Welsh spellings of place names have been used on the documents described in the catalogue, and these spellings will be used in the description. If you are searching for records relating to 'Coity', for example, you may also find material with 'Coety' as the spelling.


Search Results


You can find out more information about an entry displayed in the 'search results' hitlist by clicking on the ‘RefNo’ of a particular entry, the full description and all other relevant information will be displayed. Click on the ‘RefNo’ again if you then want to see the record in its hierarchical context (i.e. how it relates to other records in the collection) and to see other records in the same catalogue. You can also expand sections where there is a + button next to the description.

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