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English Composition II Archival Searching for Instructors: Searching Digital Collections

Each institution that hosts digital collections will likely have a slightly different set-up for searching and navigating their digital materials. Most institutions will have links to discrete digital collections on a landing or home page for their digital collections, and most will include a brief description of what the subject of that collection is on that home page. Users can then click on a link to their desired collection to view only the materials from that specific collection.

In many cases, once a user is inside a specific collection, there is a search bar that will allow you to search just within that collection. If not, there is usually an advanced search option next to the search bar that will allow you to choose to search the entire website, which would include all digital collections provided by the institution, or choose to search a specific collection. Keyword searches will normally retrieve the desired results; phrase and Boolean searches are usually not as effective. Look for a Search Tips/Help page (usually linked somewhere on the page) to see more specific search assistance for that particular Archive’s digital collections site.

Here is a good page on general search tips from UC-San Diego. There are more search tips included on the student version of this LibGuide on this page.