Help: Viewing Archival Descriptions

The Result List

A successful search - quick or advanced - will produce a result list with a maximum of 15 entries on each page. The number of results is shown above the list and the links to other result pages is at the bottom of the page.

View a result list


Results can be filtered using the 'Narrow your results by:' menu on the left hand side. Use the Up and Down arrows to expand or hide each option.

The options are:

  • Part of - indicates the collections in which the search term is found and how often
  • Creator - lists people and organisations linked to the descriptions as creators
  • Name - lists people and organisations mentioned or associated with the descriptions, usually the same as Creator
  • Place - lists the placenames linked to the descriptions
  • Subject - lists the subject terms linked to the descriptions
  • Genre - lists the record forms linked to the descriptions
  • Level of description - indicates where the description fits in a catalogue hierarchy

The numbers by each row indicate the number of times they occur in the result list. Only the top ten terms are displayed.

Exporting Information

There are two options in the result list view to export descriptions:

  1. Use your web browser print option. Print preview lets you see how the print-out will appear on paper. This will only include the title, date, scope and content, level of description and identifier. You must have access to a printer for this to work unless you have the option to save as a PDF file.
  2. Use the clipboard: see Help: Clipboard for more advice.

Sort Order

Changing the Sort Order

The sort order can be changed by using the Sort by drop down menu. The options are:

  • Relevance
  • Date modified
  • Title
  • Identifier
  • Reference code
  • Start date
  • End date

Date modified indicates a new or recently updated description. Identifier refers to a specific unit of description whereas Reference code refers to the collection it is a part of.

Note that numbers are sorted as 1, 10, 11, ..., 2, 20, 21 and so on.

What Next?

Only a brief summary of each description is displayed and paragraphs are displayed in this view as one line of text. Click on a description to see more details.

Use your web browser Back button to return to the result list.

Viewing an Archival Description

View an archival description

Click on the Show Hierarchy button to display the description in its collection catalogue. Click on the plus signs, shown in bold, to open lower levels of description.

Quick search will search the rest of the descriptions in this particular collection only. Use it to narrow your search further. Search words or phrases can be in upper or lower case but phrases must be enclosed by double quotation marks, e.g., "North Walsham".

Large amounts of text are not immediately displayed. Only the beginning portion can be seen. To see all the text click on the chevrons [>>] button. It is not always clear where your search word or phrase is on the page, especially if there is a large amount of text. Open your browser options, probably by clicking on the three vertical or horizontal dots at the top right of your screen. (Ctrl+F may be a short-cut.) Open the Find or Find on this Page option.

Descriptions can be saved to the Clipboard for exporting to the text editor of your choice: see Help: Clipboard for more information.

Explore a collection as a Report, an Inventory or as a list to copy and paste text from the web page. The other export options only apply to an individual description and are most likely of more use to other archives and libraries.

Use the browser back button to return to the results list.


  • Always check an archival description before requesting to see the document in the searchroom or requesting a copy of it. The information to give us is in the Identifier field. If the Identifier field is blank you are probably looking at a series level description covering lots of records which are described in the levels below. Use the hierarchy to locate them.
  • Use the browser Back and Forward buttons to move between a result list and the descriptions contained in it.
  • The result list and the descriptions can be bookmarked for later use. Useful if you are a depositor and want to check our holdings of your records from time to time.
  • If you have any queries regarding an entry in the catalogue then e-mail us, copying the link from your web browser into the message so we know which page you are referring to.